Today I am introducing Silke Steuxner, who is a passionate quilter and also a winner of numerous awards. Silke resides south of Perth, and is kept busy with her business, Silke Touch quilting, where she makes and sells quilts and loves to quilt smaller quilts and tablerunners for customers.
Silke, have you always lived in WA or what part of the world do you hail from?
I am originally from Austria. In 2006 I realized my dream and migrated to Australia. I live in Secret Harbour approx. 50km south of Perth together with my 14 year old Siberian Husky named Smokey.
Have you always had an interest in quilting and what started you on your quilting journey?
I started Patchwork and quilting approx. 22 years ago. A workmate attended a Patchwork for beginner class and showed me her ‘Block’s”. I thought ‘I can do this’ and so I started and taught myself how to piece and then also how to quilt on a domestic machine. That was before Youtube and all these amazing books and tutorials were available.
I learned sewing in tertiary college however that was more focused on garment making. I love the idea of cutting up fabric and putting it back together in a creative way. In 2012 I realised my dream of owning a Longarm Quilting machine , when I purchased the Handi Quilter Avante’ 18. That’s when my journey into Art Quilts started as it opened up a whole new world for me.
I love Freemotion quilting and Threadpainting on my Longarm. I still piece and sew on my Husqvarna Viking Lilly 555 which I bought 21 years ago. Purchasing the Longarm also started my Quilting business Silke Touch Quilting where I quilt smaller sized Quilts for customers as well as selling my own Quilts online.
Currently I am exploring pattern making and have created a few that I plan on selling via Craftsy. I am also in the process of creating my own quilting rulers.
Do you enjoy other crafts? And did you come from an artistic home/ background?
I consider myself a very creative person and have explored other crafts. I enjoy integrating Mother Nature into my creativeness. Recently I created a Fairy garden on my patio. It was supposed to be one terracotta bowl and it quickly turned into a 3 tier fairy garden.
My parents were both very crafty people with Mum doing lots of knitting, cross stitching or crocheting.
Dad loved wood carving, he taught himself and made amazing masterpieces. Throughout my parents house his artwork is displayed, from whole ceilings to doorframes. Sadly he passed away last year from cancer.
I have a twin sister who too is into quilting, she started 5 years ago and has done some amazing Quilts.
Silke , congratulations to you as I have read recently that your quilt piece for the Bunbury international quilt challenge was awarded a “Highly commended” and you also had a quilt that made the finals for the AQC quilt challenge, “Bridges and Borders”
Pictured above is Silke’s Magic Dragon quilt which was a finalist at the Quilt Convention, in the “Borders & Bridges” challenge in Melbourne this year. Silke, please tell us a little bit about this quilt.
Dragon magic is also a wholecloth Quilt, the fairy is raw edge applique and some couching in the wings, fabric painting around the fairy to make her stand out more. The Dragon is entirely painted with Lumiere metallic paints and then quilted which gives it texture and dimension and makes him pop out. I was very nervous painting the eye as I usually can’t draw so I am super happy how this all turned out but especially the eye.
The clouds are also done with fabric paint and some quilting for texture. The background is microquilting. All was done on my Longarm machine.
You obviously love entering competitions and challenges? How many have you entered over the years? Would you like to tell us a little bit about these pieces that were on show in Bunbury and in Melbourne?
Thanks Lorraine. Yes I am a Finalist in this years AQC Challenge with my Quilt Dragon Magic. It was very exciting to receive the news. The Quilt is travelling now and will be on display at the Perth Craft fair in May.
I also put a Quilt into the Bunbury Intl Quilt Challenge every year and in 2017 my Quilt ‘Picture Postcard Memories’ won a ‘Highly Commended’. My quilt this year, pictured below was based on the theme, “I like …’ and the fabric provided to be used in the Quilt was of a lovely creme colour.
A couple of years ago I went to Pemberton and saw a beautiful Possum at night time. This inspired me to create this Quilt ‘Bush babies’.
The background is done with a technique that Jan Krentz uses and is entirely made of diamonds in various colours. The tree and plants, rocks are all rawedge applique. the Possums are rawedge applique too and are enhanced with fabric paint and merino wool thread painting. A new technique I tried out and absolutely love. Some hot fix diamantes and small yellow pompoms were used for embellishing.
All quilt entries are currently on display at the Bunbury Art Gallery. Make sure you go and see them!
In 2016 I took all my courage and put my first Art Quilt into a Challenge. It was the Brother International Challenge with the theme ‘Echo’. My Quilt ‘Fragile Balance’ made it into the top 10 here in Australia and travelled then to Tokyo, Japan where it won a 3rd place. I was pretty stoked about that to say the least.
The following year I entered the Brother Intl Challenge again and my Quilt ‘Geckos – Save the Planet’ won an ‘Outstanding Performance’ award in Tokyo.
The Quilt ‘Phoenix rising’ made it a Finalist in the Blessington challenge in 2017 which was very exciting too.
Some of my Quilts were displayed in Magazines as part of the Challenges, this was another amazing experience.
Winning awards is nice ,however for me it is more exciting to have Quilts travelling and on display for millions of people around the world to see. My wish is for them to stop and ponder or reflect on the message of the Quilts, to be inspired and be uplifted.
Do you have a favourite quilt or piece that you have won an award for?
One of my favorite Quilts is ‘Fragile Balance’, it won a 3rd place in Tokyo in 2016.
Pictured below is Silke’s quilt, “Fragile Balance” and more information about how the quilt was made
‘Fragile Balance” won 3rd place in Tokyo. The Quilt was inspired by looking at how out of balance this world is right now. It is in our hands to protect this planet and to take care of it. So many species going extinct, water and air is polluted. What are we leaving behind for the next Generations to come? The Quilt depicts hands holding precious Mother Earth and in the background is the Flower of Life symbol a very ancient and sacred symbol about how all life begins. Then there is that huge wave that can eradicate everything in an instant, just like a Tsunami. The animals stand for endangered species, Trees for deforestation. And in the background grid are words written like ‘eco’, ‘love’, ‘home’ ‘fragile’…
The making of the Quilt: It is a wholecloth Quilt and I used raw edge applique and thread painting, micro quilting, fabric paints for the white in the wave, embellishment with Hot fix diamantes. It was all done on my Longarm Quilting machine using micro quilting within the Flower of Life to make it pop and give it dimension. Thread painting the wave was fun. The background is made of a approx 1 inch or smaller grid. Every intersection of the grid has a hot fix diamante on it. The words in the grid were also written/quilted with my Longarm machine, a challenge in itself as I did not have microhandles back then. 🙂
When you are entering a competition/challenge where does your inspiration come from?
I draw inspiration from nature and my surroundings. However I also have a very active and creative mind and many nights I wake up with lots of ideas for Quilts or I might see an image somewhere that sparks the idea for an Art Quilt or a message that wants to be brought to life. Another source of inspiration is the internet for me, mainly to search for parts and pieces that help me to draft and create the Quilt.
And then there are the days where I like to challenge myself to create a quilt with only what I have at home (fabric stash, embellishments etc.). It truly gets the ‘Silke Touch’ J.
Have you ever had the opportunity to travel to a show where one of your pieces has been displayed?
Yes. I did travel to the Intl Tokyo Quilt show in 2016, an experience in itself. Having a Quilt there was even more special. The event is held in a Baseball stadium and it is one of the largest shows in the world. I loved to see all the stunning Quilts on display by Japanese artists with all their intricate work. Shopping at the show was incredible and very different to other shows I have been to. Tokyo itself is worth visiting for sure. I only had 5 days to explore and highly recommend you attend the show if you ever get an opportunity to do so.
Back when I still lived in Austria I would do crazy things like taking a 30 hour train ride (there and back) to Amsterdam to attend the Quilt Expo there for 5 hours. Or another fond memory is flying to Barcelona, staying overnight to attend the Quilt Expo there for a day. And it was so worth it. J
Have you entered quilts at Quiltwest before? Are you entering the show this year?
No I haven’t entered the Quilt west show before and unfortunately missed the dead line this year. However some of my customers have put quilts into the show where I did the quilting for them.
Do you enjoy spending time with other quilters- as a part of a group or perhaps on a retreat?
I do enjoy spending time with other quilters and used to be part of a quilting group here in Secret Harbour sadly the group dissolved. Due to my background as a Nurse working mainly nightshifts it is very difficult to get to retreats or sewing days.
I have only been a WAQA Member for two years and would love to attend more sewing days or explore some of the groups.
Favourite way to relax?
Well there is always sewing and besides from that I love being outdoors going Rock climbing or bushwalking. I do enjoy spending time at the beach going for a swim or kayaking.
Favourite place to holiday overseas?
I love travelling and exploring Australia and would like to see more of the northern part of WA like Broome and surrounds. Travelling overseas is not possible really at present due my dog being old and I want to spend as much time as possible with him. I have the most beautiful beaches close by so I don’t feel I am missing out. I would still like to explore NZ and Hawaii. I have travelled a lot in my twenties and wouldn’t mind revisiting some places in the USA or going back to Italy for some Rock climbing.
Favourite place to holiday in Australia?
That would be either down south, Denmark –Albany area with the Sterling Ranges for Rock climbing or up north Exmouth. I absolutely loved swimming with Whale sharks and Humpback whales, an incredible experience.
Your quilt philosophy or why you love making quilts?
I love to raise awareness through my Art Quilts and Quilts in general. I call them “Awareness or Consciousness Quilts”.
For me it is a great way to touch people’s hearts and minds, to have them take a break and re-think their ways of living or doing.
I wish for my Quilts to be the wake- up call that this world needs, for the people to be the change they want to see in the world. So that healing on a deep level can occur.
I love the Native American philosophy of ‘blanketing someone in love’ by presenting them with a Quilt. Imagine everyone would receive a Quilt in this world, what a world could this be? This is one of the main reasons for me to create Quilts. Some of my Quilts I donate to an Orphan Home in Nepal and it brings me great joy to see their happy faces and knowing they have been ‘blanketed in love’.
Silke has many more stories, quilts and beautiful photograpy on her blog, silketouchquilting.com. and is also on fb and instagram as silketouchquilting.
Silke, is a WAQA member and I thank her very much for sharing her quilting journey story with us today.