Paint Plus Hand Stitch

For some years now, all kinds of digital processes and media have made inroads into the pretty discrete world of quilt making; patchwork and/or applique with hand or machine quilting. It’s an artform with a significant heritage, strongly tied to domestic production of warm bedding. The most common fabric was always cotton, and whether new or recycled fabric, cottons have long been affordable and worked up well by hand or machine.

These days many textile artists and art quilt makers produce quilted constructions as wall art for display only, a freedom inviting use of non-traditional materials. I myself have used vinyl, leather, mylar, shadecloth, sail canvas, scraps of antique undergarments, nylon tulle and nylon organza. Besides traditional quilting threads, I’ve quilted with some pretty unusual threads, including parcel string, waxed nylon twine and fine ribbon. Since the early 80s I have dyed fabric, and frequently stamped, splattered, sprayed, painted, and spread fabric with palette knife, before taking up needle and thread.

Detail – On the Edge Of The Golden Mile

Today I found this nice clear detail of a stitchery inspired by standing for the first time on the western edge of the very early stage of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit and looking across to what was left of the Great Boulder Mine. In our early days in Kalgoorlie in the Nickel Boom we lived up on the mine’s park behind the Fimiston post office. The daily blasting at the end of each shift except sunday’s afternoon shift always reminded us that beneath our house on the park, and a large part of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, was the huge underground system of actively mined workings which, after about 90 years’ continuous mining included a lot of empty stopes! Rock falls and cave-ins punctuated our daily lives, and though not necessarily on the Great Boulder itself, were very disturbing to feel happening down below, somewhere close! Before our little corner of the city became swallowed up by the pit, the houses and buildings were all moved off the mine or demolished. The pit is now extensive and tremendously deep. and this c.1986 stitched panel is holds some wonderful memories of our early days in Kal, above all capturing my feelings the day I took the photo that inspired this stitchery. This was probably the same day that Mike and I were standing where we’d been ordered by mine officials to stand so we could be safely out of the way while a blast was set off some distance away. We were all pretty shocked as rocks and stones flew over our heads! As far as we know, no heads rolled that day, though they should have!

Paint+stitch details from ‘Sunburnt Textures’, and ‘Out Back of Bourke’

Landscape has always been part of my inspiration. Back in the 80s colour and texture were my focus, and for that, paint+stitch combined perfectly.

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2 Responses to “Paint Plus Hand Stitch”

  1. Maureen Vamplee says:

    Your description of the mining works if the 1980’s remind me of the iron ore mines that were close to our village at Haverigg in the dusk
    Closed in the late 1960’s there was total flooding if the hallow that was created by the mining of the ore
    It is held in by the sea wall but provides a RSPB bird sanctuary now
    Before the closure of the mines we had many land collapses and to this day folks who know where the shafts were sunk will not buy property there … with old miners dying this information is passed onto locals … not trusting modern survey

  2. Alison says:

    Good morning Maureen and thanks for your interesting comment, which brought more memories back of land collapses, OMG !! For a city girl like myself this environment was a whole different world of which I had little idea. Around the town of Kalgoorlie Boulder the old timers and their families knew what was where, usually. The huge Super Pit has absorbed a lot of the underground honeycomb that existed in our times there 1969-75 and 1981-87. It was common to hear that the corner of someone’s garden had dropped down, and one time a whole row of houses literally a stone’s throw from where we lived lost their back yards late one afternoon – they just dropped ~200 ft. One man whose custom when he came home from work was to go and do some gardening, but on this particular day he drove his wife to the shops – and it happened while they were out of the house! During The Great Depression and at other times up to WWII, the mines allowed tributers in; these were miners paid with an agreed portion of the ore they mined, and they were free to decide where to mine from. Naturally they chose what they thought were the best bits, and as time literally was money, a team would work flat out, using the mine’s equipment and most went to the company of course, but usually they did not spend any time to survey and map what they were doing underground, so all companies had a few parts of their leases on which they simply did not have an accurate record, and there were surprises from time to time! The Great Boulder Mine had used an old slime dump on their leases to develop a park over it for families to use – there was play equipment for the kids and picnic areas on nicely kept grass. The huge GBM childrens’christmas party was put on there (1000+ kids in the day) In 1969, to accommodate new arrivals like ourselves, transportable houses were put on top of some of that park. One afternoon Mike walked past a neighbour’s house while he was watering his garden, and Peter commented he never seemed to be able to give this tree enough water – it didn’t stick around to spread into the soil. Mike suspected there might be a stope there, and sure enough when he checked in the mine’s survey office, a long way below that point there was a stope recorded, but it had been decades since that area had seen any activity, and in that time with rock falls it had eventually worked its way up to the surface! I don’t remember how they stabilised all that, probably truckloads of rock and then a cap of cement or something. I don’t remember it especially and might have been away when they did it, but we lived in a noisy environment – there were always trucks tipping stuff nearby, and a stone’s throw away a primary rock crusher plant. I doubt these days a company would be able to place housing in such an environment, but that was then! Actually we loved living up on the mine – it was hard to leave except that driving off the lease for the last time was a bit of a relief as there had been a huge underground rockfall a few weeks before that did give me the jitters. The time we lived there I value greatly, and Kalgoorlie pops up occasionally in my other blog, that you might like to visit some time. cheers!

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