Sewing Inspiration: Glenda Jean Hepburn

Do you prefer to be called a quilter? Or a sewist? I like “fabric artist”. A bit highfaluting, but there it is. My aspiration. This blog will be the beginning of a series on those who inspire me on my quilting journey and the pursuit of that grandiloquent title, Fabric Artist.

The internet has greatly expanded the opportunity to mentor and be mentored by people who will we never meet, but we still maintain a bond and expand our creative horizons.

Today, I am singing the praises of Glenda Jean Hepburn, who lives in Australia far from my Washington State, US home. Glenda is an admin on the Esther Aliu applique group that I joined in Feb 2018 at the recommendation of another FB quilting group member.

I joined the group on a whim, as one often does. I had made two primitive applique quilts knowing very little other than applique means to attach a small piece of fabric to a larger piece and stitch around it. Of course, I was aware in a vague manner that applique was a popular sewing medium but I had never seen an applique pattern that inspired me to pursue it. I had focused on learning FMQ for a couple years and was ready for a new challenge.

Esther Aliu’s FB group was a revelation! I loved her patterns and set out to make the block of the month pattern offered at the time, Queen’s Garden. I was in. And I was in way over my head, but stubbornness is a helpful trait at times. The factor that propelled me, and kept me reaching and learning, however, was the wonderful admin group on the site.

How has Glenda contributed to my work? Well, I probably would not be in love with applique without her. Glenda is unfailingly positive, upbeat, effusive, enthusiastic and ready to find the kernel of beauty in any posted piece of work. She is also knowledgeable, helpful and always willing to take the time to assist. She is a tremendous cheerleader for the group and her comments and encouragement meant a lot to me as a newbie. When I was stumped, confused, frustrated and making inevitable beginner’s errors (which still happens!), Glenda was right there telling me I was doing great and that my work was valuable, cheering me on. She is a model for how I interact with members on my own FB group.

There is another side to Glenda’s influence. Being from the magical land Oz, Glenda’s work is infused with her experience of sights in nature wildly different from my own and these experiences are reflected in her gorgeous body of work. Her use of color is fearless, her inclusion of textures and unconventional materials brilliant and fanciful. Glenda uses kimonos, carefully picked apart; vintage blocks, old lace, recycled denim, and buttons, and transforms them all into fabulous works of art. Her work never fails to surprise, delight and inspire me. She is my model for being fearless in my applique work.

A wonderful example of Glend’s use of color, light and dark space, and imagination.
Worried about “matching” colors in your work? Glenda shows us how to proceed! Fearlessly!
Oh the glories of this tiny section of applique! The vivid green on black. The use of green thread on the bottom of the stemas and yellow on the top. The tiny bird nestled in the curved frond. I could stare at this one tiny section for days.
Glenda’s version of Diamond Hill, by Esther Aliu. Classic black and white play with intense, modern colors.
The birds! The carefully fussy cut carnations! The tiny red berries; perfect balance.
So many birds! So many leaves! An abundance of wonder against an unexpected background.
A wonderful bag made by Glends featuring buttons and contract hand quilting.
Glenda’s wonderful woven recycled denim hand bag. With buttons!
Glenda loves sewing circles down by hands. Hundreds, thousands most likely! Passion pursued!
A close up of a block from Diamond Hill. Oh the colors! I love your intense color combinations!
Here, Glenda fussy cuts and arranges birds, leaves and flowers in this exquisitely arranged vase.

My silk on silk piece, made from a vintage silk length that was a gift decades ago, and some solid silk fat quarters that I won at a sew expo is the direct result of Glenda’s influence in my work. She often works in silk and this piece is my homage to Glenda Jean Hepburn, Fabric Artist.

Thank you, Glenda Jean!

Happy sewing all and may you find your inspirations and muse as they are needed.



  1. Oh Lennea that is a beautiful blog . I agree with all you say about Glenda and Esther’s group and patterns. You have made many Quilts and all of them winners beautifully done. Thankyou for this lovely blog xxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lennea, thank you for highlighting Glenda and Esther’s group. i was so hesitant to join anything on facebook but i’ve rarely come across a group of people that are so supportive, considerate and sharing. i’ve learned tons from Glenda and from you yourself. without all of you, my life would be much less rich. thank you thank you and thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s