Jenny Bowker’s quilt journey

Out of the Darkness & Into the Night

At the 2013 Australasian Quilt Convention Gala Dinner in Melbourne, Jenny Bowker was pronounced winner of the coveted 2013 Rajah Award acknowledging her outstanding contribution to quilting in Australia. Jenny has been working in textiles for more than 16 years. She is particularly sought after as a teacher because of her generosity and her ability to inspire and encourage. Jenny has elevated the status of Australian quilters and has opened up the world of patchwork to people in many countries where there is no tradition of patchwork.

But before her life as a quilter, she hailed from the science arena which she believes has helped her to understand patterns, including geometric piecing as well as keeping her technically on her toes. Jenny spent 15 years living in Arab and Islamic countries as a diplomat’s wife and her love for this part of the world has inspired her quilt designs.

The Quiltmaker Margaret Rolfe


Can you tell us about your most memorable teaching experience?

Probably the classes I taught in either Ramallah with Palestinians, or with a group of Iranian women in Tehran. Both were one month classes where I was teaching women to be teachers in order for them to make a living. In both cases the women were interesting and enthusiastic, totally new to quilting, and the whole experience was stimulating and exciting for me because I found myself feeding off their unbridled enthusiasm to learn.

Is there anywhere you haven’t taught that is on your to-do list?

There are lots of places I haven’t yet taught. I would like someone to invite me to a few more South American countries. I just loved Brazil and it’s given me a taste for more. (Note: Jenny has taught quilt making in USA, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, UK, New Zealand, Australia, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Shanghai, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.!)

Do you feel your background in science has helped shape your design style in any way?

Yes! I think it makes me think more analytically. Sometimes I wonder if this means I’m less creative, and I really envy those who can just let go and be spontaneous.

Burka & Kurdish Rug
Radiolarian Drift
Abu Ali and the Gilded Chairs
Out of the Darkness & Into the Night

Jenny inspires and encourages students in her classes which cover all skill levels and techniques. She says, “I thrive on the enthusiasm of my students and love providing them with the tools they need to find they have new skills in quilting, but are also buzzing with ideas and possibilities”.
You can read more on her website


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