Sure, why not? Memories of this particular achievement of mine came flooding back as I browsed in some old photo files recently. This group relate to a project I was involved in and blogged about in a 2009 post. Gloria Currie had emailed them that week, although I had seen some of them before on paper.
This first pic shows the letter side of the 36 double-sided quilts, each letter forming part of the entry signage to the Australian touring bicentenary exhibition of 1988. Every banner quilt was designed and produced in a major regional centre of Australia, with a designated letter on one side and on the reverse side a depiction of something typical from that particular region. It was all wonderfully coordinated by someone in Canberra, home of the Bicentennial Authority of the day.
Entrance to Australia’s Bicentinary travelling exhibition of 1988
The main centre of the huge gold mining industry in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields is the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder. Gold is still produced there today, even after nearly 130 years of continuous gold mining; and as the chief economic activity of that area it was obvious that gold and it’s history there would be the theme on our quilt’s reverse.
Members of Goldfingers Embroiderers and The Patchwork Pollies formed a group to carry out the big project, led by quilter Margery Goodall. With a desert landscape colour scheme throughout, our assigned letter was H, for which we chose traditional crazy patchwork, seen here with Margery standing in front. For the other side we settled on a traditional medallion-style design featuring a soft sculpture of the most fabulous gold nuggets ever found in Australia – the legendary Golden Eagle Nugget here with yours truly standing in front of it.
Margery Goodall and Alison Schwabe in front of the sides of the quilted banner.
I was happy to use my experience with free machine embroidery to depict some typical landscape, mining buildings and headframes on the surrounding red-brown fabric. When someone asked if I could do a gold nugget for the centre? I blithely agreed, having no real idea of how I’d do that, and knowing there would be no pattern source. I’m an experienced procrastinator with a finely tuned sense of just when I really need to just get on with it 🙂 So, after weeks of procrastinating and agonising over the folly of agreeing to make such a thing, and facing a fast approaching deadline, I finally got down to experimenting with samples, naturally. Once I focused under the pressure, the Golden Eagle Nugget took me about a day to figure out and make. I cut the shape from gold lame, toned it down in places with brown paint, layered that with batting and free machine quilted it to give the lumpy surface texture. I then backed that and stuffed some fibre filling between those layers and sewed it up like a little pillow. Phew! I was hugely relieved and just a bit proud of the result.
The Golden Eagle Nugget, soft sculpture by Alison Schwabe, 1987 ~ 25cm x ~ 15cm
Below the eagle is a little pic of the main street water fountain statue of the prospector Paddy Hannan whose discovery of gold nearby led to one of the most fabulous gold rushes the world has ever seen. What a joy to wander back in time through these photos, enjoying the memories and reminder of the proven value of making samples whenever entering uncharted territory!