Detail Work




The Farmer & his Wife

Central Victoria commission

A visual representation of a bricklayer originally from Melbourne and his new bride that ventured to the Mallee and became farmers for many years not far from Patchewollock in Victoria Australia.

I was contacted by their son to do the commission after he saw a portrait I did of Christopher May (selected as a finalist for the 2020 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize) in a shop window display. 

After discussing a budget & size of the work I went round to interview the parents. They had retired from farm life ten or so years earlier.

They were a delightful couple and happy to share their story about life on the farm. I was shown round their home and pointed out various items that were important to them such as; the crochet blanket, the photo of the farmers parents and their clock, the farmer during WW2, owl statues and tin boxes the wife had collected over decades, their cat, and a beautiful necklace given to the wife by her husband on their wedding day. Many photos were taken and conversations noted to take away and for me to tell a story in textiles.

The owl earnings are made from gold thread from France probably about 80 years plus old. (donated & found in a Op Shop in Melbourne). The faces are a build up of hand dyed silk and commercial fabrics, wedding tulle is layered with machine stitching to create depth or to shadow areas. After the main machine stitching is done then it is embellished with stitch, some of this is very simple running stitch or more elaborate embroidery methods. The finished work is then stretch over a wooden canvas and ready to be hung.

Commissions welcomed.

farmer & wife
farmer face making
wife face making
detail wife & earings
detail wife hands
wife cat
farmer WW2

Christopher Mayor
selected as a finalist for the 2020 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize

After relocating from Melbourne to Maldon in 2017 I joined an artist group where I met Ali Mayor, who was born in India and I heard many stories of her family life in India.

I was introduced to her father 92-year-old Christopher Mayor at one of my exhibitions last year, ‘A Colourful Stage of Remembrance’ held at The Capital Theatre Bendigo.

Chris was the first Western journalist in 1950 to interview the mayors of both  Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was just 22-years-old at the time.

Through his involvement with the global organisation Initiatives of Change he met and fostered a lifelong friendship with Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi in 1953. 

 Together they started an Indian weekly news magazine “Himmat” similar to Time Magazine. It’s first cover story in 1964 was China’s first nuclear bomb test. 

To mark 75 years since the end of World War 2 his story was televised on ABC Australia on the 14th August. 

I’m very proud and honoured to have created in textiles this portrait of Christopher Mayor telling his story of events recognising an outstanding individual and period in his career and life.

Knit One Tree, Purl One Tree


The recent  bushfire in Victoria and New South Wales was devastating for our wild life habitat and beautiful environment. This influenced me considerably and inspired me to create this piece “Knit One Tree, Purl One Tree”, if only we could just knit a tree or two.


Nancy Whittaker of the Maldon Tarrangower Times wrote.

“You can see in the foreground of the woman knitting, if you study the fabric she is creating with her knitting needles the reminders of the bushfires. In particular the burnt trees and homeless koalas and regeneration of seed pods. She is trying to save the environment, stitch by stitch.

The tonal work on the woman’s face is exquisite, particularly when you realise Dawn has wielded her sewing machine more like an artist’s brush to gain a tactile three-dimesional effect. The surface is so rich it makes you want to touch it.”

The work has taken about three weeks to complete, with a lot of finely detailed hand stitchery over the machined applique and machine embroidery. This is particularly evident on the red garment the woman is wearing. The vivid blue background further enhances the fine texture of the women’s hair. Even the glint in her eye is embroidered.

I like doing quirky subject matter and i”m not pedantic about techniques, usually what goes down stays down.

My Sister Joy

This portrait is of my sister Joy in her preloved blue shirt and quirky pink hat, which encapsulated her stance on sustainability and love of nature.


Textiles informs in many ways the narrative of the subject, the responsive processes and how they evolve and develop into finished artwork.


In my own practice I play with the balance of threads using machine or hand stitching, thick or thin threads to create rhythmic direction, smooth or textured fabrics suggestive of the subject.


During the making, I reflected on our childhood, our mother in her sewing room and father as an amateur artist. We were exposed to the arts in many ways and enjoyed the outdoors, often camping and exploring our surroundings.

"The Story of St Vincent's"

The Sisters of Charity

You can read more about the exhibition and see the artworks in my journal entry.

The theme ‘The Story of St Vincent’s’ which was inspired as an artist in Studio 3 at Caritas Christi Hospice Kew from March 2014 to March 2015 and in which she is grateful to St Vincent’s Artist in Residency program.


The studio looked over the beautiful garden and distance views of the Yarra Rangers National Park, I was very fortunate, to see life pass so gracefully from my window as patients, family and friends visited their loved one in the garden.  The surroundings inspired the investigation of the cultural of caring and kindness.


The Hospice was built in 1938, and the history echoed the past, I started researching the Sisters of Charity and travelled back in time to their foundress Mary Aikenhead in Ireland 1789.


On my journey I obtained historical information not only on Mary Aikenhead but other outstanding women such as Mother Mary Berchmans Daly and Ida O’Dwyer who had been an integral part of St Vincent’s hospital inception.


This exhibition is now part of St Vincent’s Art Collection,  when viewed by visitors they are informed of the wonderful work of the Sisters of Charity, the story of St Vincent’s and the dedication and care of the St Vincent’s nurses and staff.”

St Vincent’s Hospital was registered as a training school for nurses with the newly formed Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association in 1901.

Ida O’Dwyer graduated in 1902, she was one of the first Sisters to join up with the Australian Army Nursing Service, in 1904. During WW1 she served in Egypt and was in charge of the Nurses’ Hospital in London and was head sister of the No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station in France.


After the war she continued to care for sick and wounded soldiers as Matron of Caulfield Military Hospital from 1920 to her retirement in 1938.
Ida was elected Principal Matron in Victoria until 1931, also first President for St.Vincent’s Past Nurses Association.


In December 1917 Ida O’Dwyer was awarded the decoration of Royal Red Cross 1st class “in recognition of her valuable service within the armies in the field”.