Aftermath

It is clear fire is once again a focal point in my art. Between 1998 and 2000, I made several quilts ‘about’ fire, the impact it has on Man and it’s presence on the Australian continent. Every Aussie grows up with combined respect and fear of this natural force which is so useful to us all but easily escapes our control when it feeds on a heavy load of fuel in the landscape.

No words can accurately convey the horror so many Australians have lived through this year, with Nature’s destructive force running out of control, forcing evacuations, bringing death, injury, panic and pain. Stinging eyes, shortness of breath and black snot are the least of what so many have suffered.

In a powerpoint slide for my advanced improvisational patchwork class in Brasil last year, I coupled part of ‘Bushfire 4’ (1999) with an image of the Amazon fires then raging in the north of that country. All the patchwork is freehand cut and pieced, then inlaid with stiops of contrasting ‘lines’ of fabric to emphasis the speed and movement of a fire.

Quilt detail is “Bushfire 4” 1999

But nothing stays the same for ever. Already social media is producing images of regrowth, renewal and regeneration that are now apearing mere weeks after fires went through the earliest hit areas. Some parts of these have received small amounts of rain, hastening germination and regrowth, but much more is needed for full effect and to break the crippling drought whch was one factor in the seriousness of these fires. It is renewal and regrowth that I wish to focus on in my next work. Based on those images, I’m sure there will be a lot of black, dark grey and little bits of colour. How I will put this together I’m not yet sure – but one thing is certain, there is lots of piecing to be done, and so I’ve started:

One of my favourite processes is working with a heap of scrap pieces on the table, to build up sets of strips to be set into whatever will be the background.

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