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.
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!
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.