With some difficulty I moved aside some furniture to access my book case yesterday and thanks to my orderly filing system instantly found the March 1998, first ever issue of Down Under Quilts Magazine. The centrefold was an article on a quilt produced as a community project in the Eatern Goldfields of Western Australia.
It was part of a nation-wide project in which regional fiber crafts people all round the coutry were asked to band together to produce these double sided quilted banners to form a huge sign welcoming visitors to the travelling bicentenary exhibition that travelled all round the country in the year of of the bicentenary of white settlement of Australia, 1988. One one side was the assigned letter – ours was H, and on the other was to be a design that reflected something important about the region/town/city from which it came. So, The Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia, semi desert and a very rich gold mining area since the discovery there in 1893 provided the theme and the colours chosen for our quilt. It was all co0ordinated by my good friend Margery Goodall (who’s now here in Perth and now a prominent Aus contemporary quilt maker) The crazy patchwork blocks making the later provided hundreds of people in the area the opportunity to sew a bock or embroider a few, or many, stitches as their contribution, and then it was all assembled according to the detailed instructions provided by the whatever-depatment it wasw that orgnanised the whole thing from Canberra. When fully assembled on this structure at the entry to the exhibiiton read Australian Bicentenary Exhibition 1988 or something like that, and as visitors left looking at the other sides of these quilts they provided a fantastic array of the diversity of environments and life of our country. I don’t know where these are now stored, and haven’t heard of them since the show was demounted at the end of the year, but hope they are in some national archive somewhere – makes mental note to inquire, and would love to hear from anyone who has information on this.
So – the centrefold of the magazine shows yours truly, October 1987, in front of the soft sculpture of my design and creation, modelled on a very famous huge gold nugget found near Kal, known as “The Golden Eagle”. The background of the nugget is red earth colour on which I free machine embroidered lots of trees and landscape features including a statue of the discoverer of gold there, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Hannan, and top and bottom some more fme against the red, also. And all this before I had any connection with quiltmaking! Imagine my delight when my friend Gloria Curry, who took these pics and submitted them. She sent me a copy of this brand new magazine to which I immediately subscribed, which ever since has served Australian piecers and quilters, traditional and innovative, ever since.