Sunday, 9 December 2007

Australia Wide

My days have been so full of compelling activities that I've been slow to find the rhythm of writing, and my jottings have been somewhat more occasional than intended. As the year draws to a close and life calms down a little, some retrospective jotting seems in order.

The time leading up to my trip to India was especially busy. In between mounting two exhibitions here in Western Australia (more on those on a later occasion), I participated in the selection of works for an exhibition initiated by Ozquilt Network, Australia's national organisation for art quilters. Australia Wide was designed to showcase the talents of Ozquilt Network's members and to demonstrate the scope of art quiltmaking in Australia.

As a juror, I was also invited to exhibit. My quilt Jetty Suite 4 , like all works in the exhibition, is 40 cm square. Made from recycled blankets, it was inspired by the weathered wood and rusty painted surfaces of the Busselton jetty.

a detail of Jetty Suite 4

I always feel honoured to be invited to jury a show, a process which brings equal measure of pleasure and weighty responsibility. In this instance, the selection process was a long distance affair, with the three jurors scattered from coast to coast, across 3,000 kilometres and three different time zones. The cost of bringing us together would have been prohibitive, but with the wonders of modern technology we were able to view the images via a CD slideshow on our computer screens and communicate with each other via email.

This was an interesting means of jurying, much more protracted than my previous jurying experiences. A process which is necessarily confined to several intense hours when the jurors are brought together within the confines of one room was extended to days, as we each in our own time viewed the works and reported our initial response, then discussed, reviewed and negotiated until we reached a final consensus via numerous email communications. I appreciated having the luxury of viewing the works repeatedly over a number of days, so that decisions made were more fully considered than is usually possible.

As well as touring to venues around Australia, Australia Wide can be viewed on Ozquilt Network's website, I urge you to take a look, there is a wonderful variety of work to be seen.

Monday, 5 November 2007


I am high as a kite, floating on the euphoria of savouring a wonderful experience.


I've just flown home from India, where I have been visiting a young friend. My friend Intekhab is a rafoogar, a darner of Kashmiri shawls. He comes from a long line and large extended family of rafoogars, who for generations have devoted themselves to restoring these old and precious textiles.

Our friendship was formed early in 2006 when we undertook a joint residency in Ballarat Victoria, along with Intekhab's fellow rafoogar Zakir, as part of the Common Goods project. You can learn about this project and discover what we did during our residency by following the links at the right to the website and blog respectively.

I speak no Hindi. Intekhab speaks a little English. He is of the Muslim faith, a young man the same age as my daughter. We would seem to have very little in common except our shared interest in mending old cloth. Even there, our attitude differs. Intekhab is trained to mend invisibly, to remove from the cloth any trace of the passing of time. My interest in mended cloth lies in exposing the effects of aging, allowing the marks to tell the story of the life the cloth has led. I am very happy for the mends to remain visible.

Yet this young man and I, as we collaborated on a work for Common Goods, formed a bond which has stood the test of time and distance. Intekhab has phoned me from India every few months, to ask about my family and my health, and even to offer me Christmas greetings on Christmas Day, each time urging me to visit him and his home town of Najibabad, 200 kilometres north east of Delhi.

How could I refuse such an enticing offer? So of we went, my husband and I, to Delhi, and to Rajasthan, and then finally north to Najibabad. We met Intekhab's family and friends, who made us very welcome. We visited Intekhab's workshop, and those of his extended family and colleagues, where we saw the results of the rafoogars' very special skills and creativity.




We were taken touring to visit local landmarks which spoke of the history of the town. Intekhab's family welcomed us into their home, where we experienced great hospitality and generosity. We shared a special meal cooked by Intekhab's mother. Intekhab's father kindly showed us some of his treasured old Kashmiri shawl fragments.


I was given a precious gift of two embroidered strips of centuries-old shawl. I am charged with honouring that generosity by incorporating these precious fragments into a worthy piece of work.


All too soon our special visit was over, but our memories will last a lifetime. Intekhab, how can we ever thank you enough?

Friday, 13 July 2007


It seems my first missive did wash ashore somewhere. Thankyou Alison for your kind comment. Alison spoke of my 1998 quilt 'Tidemark, Cape Tribulation', which she saw in the book 'Quilting Masterclass' written by Katharine Guerrier. 'Tidemark' was inspired by a walk along the beach at Cape Tribulation in northern Queensland, where the rain-forest sweeps right down onto the sand. The tidemark is a crazy jumble of rainforest detritus such as twigs, seedpods and leaves which overwhelm the usual seaweed and shells.

Rain-forest litter is washed back up onto the beach by the tide.

This image taken at the high tide mark sparked the idea for my quilt 'Tidemark, Cape Tribulation'.

'Tidemark, Cape Tribulation'
72 x 92 cm (28 x 36 inches)
printed, pieced, appliqued, embroidered


Sunday, 15 April 2007



Today, with the dawn, I gently dip my toe in the water.

After resisting the incoming tide for so long, I am finally tempted to plunge into this vast sea of words and images. Will my contributions remain adrift, bottled cyber jottings floating aimlessly, or will they wash up onto unknown shores? If so, will anyone take pleasure in finding them?

Time will tell.