I just finished this year’s 12″x12″ quilt for the annual SAQA benefit auction. I try to make it early in the year, but think January 21st. is the absolute earliest that I’ve ever finished one.
It features freehand cut and machine pieced patchwork, and was machine quilted with flourescent red-orange thread. The inspiration was fire ravaged Australian landscape. In some regions hit earliest in this disastrous bushfire season, some trees and other vegetation are already sprouting new leaves.
Fellow SAQA member Regina Benson asked why, after years of making one of these works annually and each of us never feeling comfortable with the format, why did I comment I was now feeling more interested in this size? My answer included these points:
- Despite the very large quilt top I just made, I have been thinking a bit about where to from here. I don’t normally do pictoral designs, and in quiltmaking I’ve always been primarily focused on presenting impressions through colour and line, mostly using pieced fabric.
- Since the 70s I’ve loved creative, interpretive embroidery, often over paint, and ‘stitch’ is never far from my mind.
- Though I love and admire the large stitched installations of Dorothy Caldwell, Christine Mauersberger et al, I recently found myself looking at gallery pics of a recent exhibition of quilts wondering whether I want to make ‘large’ works any more.
- My works are gradually downsizing, recently 60-125cm range.
- A few years back I had a brief flirtation with 3D forms each of which included stitch.
- I keep thinking of groups of small works. I love the work of Helen Terry http://www.helenterryart.co.uk/blog and this exhibition of thematically related works in several small formats struck me.
“Afterglow” is a 1997 quilt I made after spending a 6-week artist in residence term in Katherine, Northern Territory. It’s a memory quilt, of walking along a dry creek bed in the bush, late on a very, very hot day to go to a cool waterhole picnic spot with some friends. The fierce heat was radiating off the rounded riverbed stones, but the thing was, after cooling off, on dusk we had to return along the same path, and the heat was still palpable.