Monica JohnstoneIn adulthood I turned my hand to custom camera bags, costumes for university and local theatre, and more clothing than anyone has a right to own.  After a move to Australia in 1995 with my Sydney-born husband, I enrolled in the TAFE certificate course in costume manufacture and completed half of that wonderful program prior to the birth of my son.  At that point, tutus and corsetry were no longer practical pursuits so I enrolled in a community center class on patchwork and quilting with the intention of making two quilted pillows.  Instead I completed a large, if garish, bed quilt and was on my way.

I’ve been blessed to happen into two large and wonderful quilters’ guilds, first the Quilters Guild of New South Wales and (since moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2007) the West Michigan Quilters Guild.  In both I met inspiring artists and made lasting friendships.  These organizations provided inspiration, guidance, venues for shameless self-promotion, and so many laughs as I made a slow transition from traditional quiltmaking to contemporary and art quilting.  Through these and other connections it has been my good fortune to study with excellent teachers, such as Liuxin Newman, Lois Cook, Chrissy Sheed, Stephanie Knudsen, Brenda Gael Smith, Gwen Marston, Nancy Crow, and Ann Keister.

In my parallel life I am a soccer mom, university administrator, and teacher with a doctorate in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.   I have worked in and traveled to seventeen countries.  Expression and communication remain the connecting threads through all of my journeys.