You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

I thought perhaps I would introduce you all to the Resident Feline.


His name is Monte and he has more than a passing interest in all things quilting. I was trying to take some outdoor pictures for pattern covers and he insisted on helping.

He knows that he is not meant to sleep on my bed and definitely not on the quilts, so last night he carefully positioned himsef on the black t shirt thinking that he would be okay!

As a predominantly white cat, he is always attracted to whatever is black…..


Currently, Monte’s position as head of the household has been under threat as we have been “babysitting” my daughter’s ferret.  This was meant to be a temporary arrangement but I think he has become resident by default.   Monte and Jasper have yet to reach a memorandum of understanding about who rules.



My eye ( and therefore, my camera) has been drawn of late to textures in the environment;  to the everyday scenes in my inner city location.


I love the history of these lanes, wonder at the tales the stones could tell about those that have passed over them, fight for their preservation from the vanadalism of councils and utilities who scar them with their machinery.

They say a great deal about how communities formed and evolved, interacted and connected and they have a place in the future if only they are allowed to be part of the fabric of our cities and suburbs.


The lanes lead us to the modern gallery spaces – some would say that stencil art and graffiti have no place…but this is still the work of someone with something to say and this is a place for and a means of expression.

How revealing and inspiring the simplest things can be; and how accessible they are when you get out and WALK!

I have put up my hand to co-ordinate a postcard swap on the Stitcher’s Showcase group – well, Jeff twisted my arm to head up the Postcard Swap group seeing as I asked whether there was any interest!

I am looking forward to starting this challenge as I have found myself feeling a little stale of late and struggling to get myself up the stairs and into the studio to work on something other than samples for the shows.

I’m hoping this will kick start me into creating some things bigger and brighter than before!

A retrospective exhibition of Rosalie Gascoigne’s work is currently showing in NGV Federation Square. If you are planning to visit the Dickens Quilt in the near future, take the opportunity to walk up to the third level and take in this show.


Rosalie’s work took many forms: from sculpture, to installation art,  to pieces that were painterly in presentation yet sculptural in construction. She was the ultimate in recycler, in that she scoured the countryside around her home town of Canberra for “waste” – found objects to some of us – and rendered them into superb pieces that vibrate with texture and form.


Some pieces reminded me strongly of the Russian religious icons – this one a tribute to that iconic Australian institution of the Arnott’s Rosella.  This piece dates to before the subsequent loss of this brand to the multinationals.

This exhibition had me itching to come back to the studio, select appropriate fabrics and the start cutting and twisting and stitching back – and I have just the fabrics to do it with!

This is a “must see” for those of us who lament lack of formal art training – Rosalie was a self taught “artist” who found her feet in her chosen form in her 50’s and produced this remarkable volume of work over little more than 25 years.

We had reason to wield the pruning shears today and, in the process, uncovered a nest from last season. We were impressed at the skill with which this nest had been constructed and it had remained intact through the winter, surviving unscathed when the storms a couple of weeks ago blew over the Banksia Rose in which it had been built.


This thrifty little bird had collected scraps of bark from the paper bark tree in the street, grasses from adjoining blocks and scraps of rubbish from the street.  Close examination revealed she had carefully woven pieces of clear plastic bags into the base of the nest and scraps of music cassette tape around the lower levels.


But the best bit was the lining to the nest – a tiny scrap of bright pink tinsel decorating the walls….I think this is a Sonya bird!!!

Today I took myself into see this beautiful quilt….and it is absolutely beautiful!  It won’t stay that way long if the gallery doesn’t do something about keeping the public back from it though.  In the short time I was there at least two people put their hands on it and another nearly tore the quilt from the wall tripping over the raised platform in front of it.

E Dickens Quilt

E Dickens Quilt

As you can see from this picture (Taken with the ambient light within the gallery as flashes can damage vulnerable fabrics!) the quilt is substantial in size.  On close examination there is little if any wadding left – it is very thin!  It appears to have a binding but in actual fact the edges have been turned under and there is a fine line of quilting right along the edge.

Outer Edge

Outer Edge

The fine edge three stripe fabric is approx 1 & 1/4″ wide and is applied in three sections, the middle section on each side reads orange, gold centre and dark brown stripe to the edge of the quilt as opposed to the two outside stripes as seen below.

RH Lower Corner

RH Lower Corner

As you can see there is even a tiny corner block – and this is broderie perse as are the larger floral blocks in the adjoining rows. The stitching of the broderie perse varies in “expertise” – some of it is so tiny, it is hard to believe it could have been hand stitched and other areas shows a less refined level of skill indicating that the quilt may well have been the work of more than one person.

The wall notes accompanying the quilt state that the broderie perse was executed using chain stitch… is clearly buttonhole stitch. (Full text of the wall notes can be found here.)

This quilt is a “must see” for anyone interested in quilting, historic quilts, quilt preservation techniques and old textiles.  It can be found in Gallery 5 Level 2 of the NGV Federation Square (Ian Potter Gallery) Melbourne.

I was delighted to discover that the National Gallery of Victoria has completed the restoration of a beautiful early Australian Quilt and it has been finally put on show for a brief period at the NGV Federation Square Gallery.

The article in the paper had a full sized picture of this magnificent large pieced and appliqued quilt that had been rescued from a shed in country Victoria.


Just a corner peek at this quilt – its size is not truly reflected with this little bit!!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have this “thing” about trees – more specifically, the wonderful surface textures of their trunks.  For some time now I have been collecting shots of various tree trunks.


I found this one in a car park in Adelaide… although the trunk itself had little variation in colour, the effect of the shadows cast made it all the more interesting.  From memory it was a stinker of a day and any bit of shade was a blessing!


There are some lovely old tree in Kings Park in Perth – this is the same tree I showed in an earlier post but this shot was taken in May – the other in September and the bark colouring is different.


Lovely knarly number – it reminded me of free form crochet at the time I saw it – I’m not sure how I would go about rendering this surface in thread… but I think it would need to be free machining overworked by hand stitching.


Another Kings Park specimen – just loved all the pleats and folds in this.  The length of the trunk was quite badly scarred horizontally; given the width of the band it would have appeared to have been inappropriately “tied” at some point in its life and the scar has remained as the tree aged.

I am still collecting…one day these pictures will form the basis of a series of exercises in thread play, that is, when I find a spare year or three to spend stitching!

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