Why choose me to talk to your group?

If you run a quilting or embroidery or WI group you will appreciate the value of having a programme of excellent speakers for the continuing success of your group.  When I was chair of Bristol Quilters, I certainly did, and I had a list of elements that I thought made a great speaker including politeness and punctuality.  This is what I can offer you and your group as a speaker:

  • I am a passionate quilter and embroiderer with around forty years’ experience of needlework, starting with sewing with my mother.
  • I have had at least twenty years’ experience teaching in a world class university to all sorts of students, who have to be kept engaged.
  • My talks have been described as inspirational, and great fun, and wonderful storytelling.
  • I want everyone to have a great time and to go out knowing a bit more than they did when they came in.
  • I don’t use powerpoint and I do bring lots of examples for people to touch and see.

What other people say about my talks

Not just an amazing presenter, Ann is also an edutainer and super inspiring speaker! – Beatrice Acevedo, artist and educator.

Ann`s quilts are not tradition but contemporary, quirky, beautiful ,inspiring and heavily embellished. As she says why use one bead when you can use a hundred.  We would thoroughly recommend Ann as speaker and know you would have a fun time with her. – Gwyneth Proctor, Gwent Quilters.

Ann’s talks are presented in a professional manor, yet she manages to make it entertaining, her research into the topic is outstanding.   Ann’s presentation style engages the audience for the whole time, you know it’s going to be a good night.  Di Weeks, Westbury Park Quilters.

Ann has given the most interesting talks to our quilting group. She has been organised, well informed, interactive, and fun. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience that she shares in her well put together talks. Jo-Anne Clymo, Clifton Quilters.

Talk topics

I offer the following talks, all of which may be booked now.  None of the talks require powerpoint facilities, and I am happy to use a microphone if required.

When this you see, remember me – album and commemorative quilts

Quilters all tend to make quilts to mark special occasions: births and marriages and some death quilts often made from the partner’s shirts.  This is a tradition as old as quilting itself.  In this talk, I look at where the tradition really hit its high point in the 1860s in America, and I go on to look at the modern woman and her commemorative  quilts.  By looking at these quilts we can see how women’s lives have changed over the past 150 years.

Laura Ashley and her part in my downfall

Laura Ashley holds a special place in the heart of many quilters as so many of us started with the Laura Ashley 50p bit bags.  In addition, a lot us wore Laura Ashley dresses on very significant days in our lives such as weddings, or parties, or first dates.  This talk traces Laura Ashley plc from its early days on a kitchen table in a London basement flat to its heyday as a global enterprise selling furnishings and fashions to create yuppie heavens.  I will also talk about my work inspired by Laura Ashley fabric and will bring lots of pieces of with me which will bring back all sorts of memories.  I make some pieces based on stories people tell me at the talks so this is also an opportunity to join a wider community of storytelling about this inspirational company.

Scraps and samples, sales and stash

Most quilters I know got into the craft because they love fabric.  I have lost count of the times that I have got fabric out, stroked it, gazed at it and then put it away again because I couldn’t bear to cut into it.  I know when I walk into a fabric shop that I could bring them stock, and yet I always seem to come home with yet more cloth to add to the stash.  As times have got harder I have started to look for sources of quality cloth at reasonable prices.  And, as a result of this love affair with fabric and my inability to throw nothing but the tiniest trimmings away, I have a house full of fabric in baskets and boxes and cupboards and conversions (loft).  In this talk I share this passion and show you how I am gradually shifting the mountain.  I will look at scrap quilts and the new improvisational way of using them, quilts made from sample books or cards, fabric bought in sales which is less lovely when you get it home, and women and their stashes.  This is a therapeutic evening for all fabriholics.

Cozy quilts and cozy crimes

Jennifer Chiaverini is a household name for many quilters.  She was one of the first authors to write novels about quilting,  Since her lead many others have joined in writing about what I call ‘Hestia crafts’ (crafts to do with the needle such as knitting, embroidery, and quilting or the wider home, such as scrapbooking).  They have combined these with a type of book known as cozy crime.  These are books in which there is a mystery to solve but there isn’t any gore or forensic descriptions of gunshot wounds and so on.  Some of these books offer tips and hints, as well as the recipes for the food eaten in the stories.  Some also, such as the Benni Harper mysteries, have spun off tie-in books with instructions for full-size quilts.  In this talk we will have a look at what we can learn about quilters and quilting, as well as how to run a business, how to grow a community and how to make a quick dinner so that you can get back to your stitching.

The Fabulous Mr Fabergé and his Inspirational Eggs

Peter Carl Fabergé was a jeweller to the Russian Imperial Court of the Romanovs.  Every year he made them Easter eggs, right up until the Russian Revolution of 1917.  These eggs were very ornate, and craftmanship meant much more to Fabergé than precious stones or metals.  He was also commissioned to make each egg have a surprise so it might open to reveal a gift inside such as a mechanical creature, or it might have pop-up portraits of the Imperial children.  These objects were designed for commemoration, but also to surprise and delight the recipients.  Although the eggs themselves are really quite elaborate for modern taste, they act as a catalyst for thinking about embellishing quilts, and about personalising gifts.  This talk will show how Fabergé can still inspire us and urge us to high standards of work.  It will also include details of Fabergé himself and the St Petersburg society in which he worked.

Groups I have given talks to include

  • Bristol Quilters
  • Shire Stitchers
  • Portishead Quilts
  • Severn Valley Quilters
  • Weston Quilters
  • Westbury Park Quilters
  • Bath Quilters
  • Bath Embroiderers’ Guild
  • Bristol Embroiderers’ Guild
  • Oxford Embroiderers’ Guild
  • Clifton Quilters
  • Sodbury Vale Quilters
  • Avening WI
  • Nottingham Patchwork Group
  • Montpellier Quilters
  • Emersons Green Quilters


I charge a standard £25 for travel and other expenses.  I then ask for a donation to Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) for whatever amount the group deems reasonable.  I also ask to be allowed to bring promotional material to distribute to the group.