Saturday, July 20, 2019

A bird's eye view

The quilt was worked on over a period of several years, particularly being reworked from an original one piece to present as a diptych. I wanted to create a sense of a journey over distance and ever-changing horizons, by using overlapping colour contrasts and a perspective of looking down from overhead. (It has since made me wonder if Indigenous First Peoples already had what we now know of as ‘drones’.) The technique was experimental, having never used two-point turns in order to ‘embed’ one fabric into another, so that they become individually integrated while forming a whole piece… like meeting horizon after horizon, each different, but embedded in the whole experience. Where to place the integration was significant in the overall interaction of colours, shapes and design, but that was only one level of relationship with the quilt’s development.

This quilt is a special part of my spiritual connection to land. It gifted me with a very real experience of being at the ‘crossroads’, between what we think we know and what we don’t know, other than through our intuition, which we don’t always listen to or even trust. After completing the pieced whole as a background of the journey’s changing landscape, the trees of the lake were placed in stark contrast to the blending layers of horizon upon horizon and found their way into the quilt as black sentinels, standing boldly in a 360 degree radius around the parameters. To bring it all together, the close tyre-like, long quilting of the three layers at the centre of the diptych also helped bring the two little pieces together, and of course gives emphasise the long straight roads we travelled. The cross-hatching of the quilting helped to represent the division of land areas needing fencing through ownership, and showing crop differentiation.

On our way back to the mountains we called in to the town of White Cliffs. It was a wonderful experience to see a town living on the energy supplied by solar panels installed on the fields outside town. And to go into the underground tunnels dug out to create a local home, to stay as guests with a couple who lived that way permanently was very special. It felt very comfortable to be living underground, in the nurturing embrace of mother earth, fostering and protective. We went up to the town to get some food for evening dinner, and came back to realise that there was no television reception – no cable reception to watch Cathy Freeman win the 400m sprint for Australia – and Indigenous Australia! Such is life! It was nevertheless amazing to experience living in a cave, even if only for one day and night. Very special indeed.

Here is the final version of the quilt, “Road to Menindi”, front and back. I am pleased with the outcome. Also the backing, from home dyes, evocative of landscape, waters and night skies. As mentioned in earlier post, I’m moving onto finishing a small quilt celebrating one aspect of the natural heritage we are lucky to live within in the Blue Mountains our hanging swamps.

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