Featured Artist-Maureen Curlewis

Maureen Curlewis is widowed and lives in Australia with her Abyssinian cat Sam. She is known for her sense of humor.

Tell me about yourself. 

I was born in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia, the middle child of three children. Dad was a pharmacist in Broome, but relocated to Perth in the early days of WWII.  As a child I suffered from severe asthma and from those days developed my love of reading, drawing, writing and “fiddling with fabric” as my family dubbed it. I still have the first apron I made for my mum at about 10 years of age, and a doily made when I was eight.  As my health improved, tennis and swimming dominated my life.

I trained as a General Nurse at Royal Perth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and after graduation I got married. I was busy rearing a family and managing a mixed fruit orchard. Whilst my two sons and a daughter were small I made their clothes and that was about all the stitchery I had time for except for the odd bit of embroidery or knitting.

In 1974, we relocated from Perth to Brisbane, Queensland, because of my husband’s work in the earth-moving and mining industries.  In 1983 we had a “sea-change” and moved from corporate life to a more tranquil and rural lifestyle. Not long after the move I joined a local arts and crafts society where I was introduced to quilting and embroidery. Living in a subtropical climate, there are only so many quilts one needs, and besides I was a bit of a maverick and was not content with cutting squares and triangles and joining them neatly!

My first introduction to candlewicking (white work embroidery) led me to attempt adding dimension and texture to my work, especially in working with Australian wildflowers and Crinoline ladies. Next I tackled silk ribbon and Brazilian Dimensional embroideries. I taught both for a while. Then, in Brisbane at a quilting show, I met Judith Baker Montano and her embellished crazy quilting. I had found my niche.


When did you start making postcards?

In 2004/5, I joined the online group Aus/NZ Art Quilters (art quilt artists that live in Australia or New Zealand, or are citizens of these countries) and got involved in making Journal Quilts.  Through a swap organized in May 2006 between the Aus/NZ Art Quilters and (I think) the Rocky Mountain Quilters, I participated in my first postcard trade. The postcards were not mailed but taken to the U.S.A. by one of our members.

Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

I joined because I could see that the smaller format would allow me to tackle more techniques and if they didn’t work out there would not be too much angst if an unsatisfactory piece resulted. Well! That’s what I thought at the time.


How do you display your postcards?

My favorite postcards are framed and displayed on various walls in my home; others are displayed on shelves, and the recent arrivals are in a goldfish bowl in the open area where visitors can check them out.

What have been some of your favorite themes?

Whatever I’m working on at the time, although I did enjoy Favorite Songs, Cityscapes and Elements.  Each card I receive teaches me something new, both about how the artist perceives the subject, as well as new techniques for me to explore.  As very few of my friends are interested in fabric and fibre, I rely on my Internet friends to stimulate my imagination.


Tell me about your other interests. 

I have just purchased an embroidery machine and am looking forward to marrying machine embroidery with needle felting and producing some art quilts.

Apart from my fabric and fibre addiction, I read a lot: non-fiction, historical fiction, and the labels on jars, Quilting Arts and Sub Tropical Gardening magazines.

In early 2007, just before the death of my husband Ken, I relocated from the shores of Moreton Bay to the city of Redcliffe. After Ken’s death, I needed to live as a single entity, rather than as part of a pair that I had been for 46 years. Along the way, I took up learning to pilot a glider (soaring) but 15 to 20 flights later, I found it too expensive to continue. I love travel, particularly visiting other cultures. I volunteer as a tutor in English as a second language to newly arrived immigrants. I am a member of PROBUS, a seniors group of the Rotary Club.

I had been participating in musical revues but decided this year to “retire” and be in the audience rather than be on stage and acting also as wardrobe and props mistress.

Last but not least, my family is within an hour’s drive from me and there is always to-ing and fro-ing between us. My youngest grandchild is in year 11 at high school and there is always some concert or martial arts exhibition that she wants her Gran to attend. I have one great-grandson, but as he is in Tasmania and I don’t get to visit.

You can catch up with Maureen on her blog.

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