Category Archives: quilting

Reflecting on Art Quilts

Australian Quilts in Public Places (AQIPP) is a juried and judged exhibition run every second year by the Australian Quilters Association.
IMG_7188The theme for 2017 is Reflection, further guidance on the topic was given to entrants . Whether contemplating reflection in still water or reflecting on life, change, environment or the world around us, reflection helps to instil in us a sense of time and place.

The qualifying quilts are currently on display at Artspace at the Box Hill Town Hall, from Tuesday to Friday 10 to 4 and Saturday 12 to 4, until December 21.


The gallery is in a series of rooms to the left of the main hall and display cases line the entry ramp and and foyer.

Only a few quilts used water reflection and most of these were photographic representations or used a photograph as source materials. Sue de Vanny’s was the best of these and was highly commended. It was very difficult to capture the fleeting qualities of reflected images, there were a number of moons and Jacie Malseed found reflections in city buildings.


The abstract work of Anna Brown used a minimal palette and disciplined technique to capture the flickering images, light and shadows that flash her the surface of the water as wind and currents move through the mangroves.

A number of entrants attempted reflections on indigenous culture and the first nations. Greek mythology was represented by Narcissis who loves his own reflection and Perseus using his polished shield to view the reflection of the Gorgon, Medusa. Those that chose to reflect on issues or concepts generally resorted to including text in the work.

Jill Miglietti used rope wrapped in cotton strips collaged onto a round form to represent the simple act of clasping hands. The resulting highly textural piece showed that a simple form can make a powerful statement.

Three layers of voile with raw edge appliqué was all Denise Sargo needed to show the beauty of nature and sky reflected in the lily pond. Her delicate embroidery and beading showed great restraint.

Travel postcards were a popular device. Judy Bell’s quilt reminded me of a school project using the stickers from the American Geographical Society’s Around the World Program booklets published in the late 1950s to early 60s. In case you are not familiar with these I have found a couple of images from auction listings. The ‘Australia’ issue from 1961 seems a little odd.

The Australian Quilters Association Award went to Sandra Champion’s …on Siren Song an interpretation of the audible and visual experience of music performed in Sullivans Cove, Hobart at sunrise and sunset during Dark Mofo in June 2017. I have seen other works by this artist and each one is visually strong from a distance yet invites close inspection.

I nearly missed seeing the winner of the Brother International Award. It was very poorly displayed in a glass case at the top of steep stairs in the foyer. Reflections #2 is by Dianne Firth. It is a long narrow work 42.5cm x 131cm but that is no excuse for hanging it in such an out of the way place. It could not be contemplated even from a short way back because of the danger of falling backwards down the stairs. I was very glad to have spotted it on my way out as it is a sophisticated interpretation of twinkling lights reflected across water at night. Two striped cottons and a solid yellow, machine pieced and quilted.


Geelong Quilt Exhibition 2017

I love going to quilt shows, and a forecast of thunder storms was not going to put me off. Turns out only a few minutes of blinding rain was encountered on the Geelong Road and I left before the evening deluge.

It was an interesting show, a number of the quilt makers said they made the quilt to have something to do at the various sit and sew groups they attend. It is a bit of a chicken and egg thing I guess.

Here is the quilt mentioned by Vireya – I asked for permission to publish at the desk and it was granted. It is Let’s Colour the Shade by June Stafford.

See it really is made out of shade cloth – the lady viewing it at the same time as me wondered how many needles she went through.

This was another interesting quilt. It is Long Time Gone a Jen Kingwell design made by Judy Bubb. She made it after finishing a Gypsy Wife quilt also by Jen Kingwell and used some of her leftover fabric – each scrappy quilt generates another. It was interesting to see four versions of the Gypsy Wife on display.

I was intrigued by the quilting and had a chat to Judy about it. She has a long arm machine and it was a bit of an experiment. Having so many tiny pieces she decided to quilt through the lot disregarding the blocks. Part way through she was having second thoughts but was not going to do any unpicking.

The gentle waves of quilting really dominate the pieced design. It is hanging flat, the bulges are an illusion. I thought that the similarity of value in the colours used contributed to this looking more like a whole cloth quilt.

SAQA at Stitches and Craft

Saturday was hot and humid, not typical November weather in Melbourne. The Exhibition Building is beautiful but not at all comfortable in the impossible weather. Nevertheless I took a train and two trams to do a two hour stint on the Studio Art Quilt Associates stand. I am not a member but was helping out by monitoring their My Corner of the World exhibition.

This travelling exhibition started in Canada in May 2016 and is currently touring around Australia. Artists were invited to examine a world, real or imagined, that represented what is important in life. The resulting textile pieces are amazingly diverse in concept, technique and design.

The use of colour stood out for me in these three. Sunset over Lake Ontario, the elevated park in the city, succulents in the back yard.

Details from two quilts that showed great restraint in colour and evoked a nurturing softness.

Quilting lines are often critical. The black panel in Afternoon is only attached at the top, adding to the sense of gentle movement of the grasses.

This very balanced quilt uses a host of techniques to explore birdlife.

The Stitches and Craft Show itself had a little bit of a lot.

A creative use of treadle drawers at Hat Creek Quilts of Tasmania. The designer has published a book on wool felt appliqué on pieced blocks. Tempting but I don’t need a new project.

I was fascinated by the work of Effie Dee an artist from Canberra who works with plasticine and petrie dishes among other things. She has a range of clear block stamps that I couldn’t resist.

Also picked up some very fine luminous cotton from Lola Lovegrove, a fairly new yarn supplier based in Ormond. If I am quick this will be woven into something special for a Kris Kringle.

Ballaarat Quilters

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the 2017 Exhibition put on by the very talented and industrious Ballaarat Quilters.

The Hall at St Patricks is a great venue, even the ceiling has plenty to inspire a quilter. Included in the exhibition were the responses to a few challenges and quilts following a red and white theme. There was even a table setting in red and white made entirely in fabric. It was lovely to see Vireya’s circle quilt in its entirety, I have had a few sneak peeks during the making. Worth clicking for a closer view, the quilting is beautiful.

Three large quilts all by Robyn Cooper are a Grey Series started when she says she noticed the stack of grey fabrics was far too large. She describes her process as a “cut and sew and go wherever inspiration takes me”. All fabulous quilts and all made this year.

Another two quilts I really liked turned out to be made by the same person. Sue Scrabl’s response to the circle challenge has lovely textured fabric circles inserted into a stripe and simply embroidered. She has reimagined the Kaffe Fassett pattern African Collage from the book Shots and Stripes to make a busy landscape for diggers and trucks. Her grandson will have lots of fun making up stories of hills and holes and roads.

A beautifully proportioned small quilt by Jenny Bacon is all made by hand. The design was inspired by her Crabapple tree through the seasons. The border’s symmetrical structure is made more interesting by the extra branches twining upwards on each side. The hand quilting really enhances the appliqué and I loved the final border treatment. While not a large quilt, it contains a huge amount of skilful work.

A great show, congratulations to the group. If you missed out you will have to wait two years for the next one, it will be worth it. I didn’t leave empty handed as members had some lovely items for sale, including this covered journal.IMG_6992

It is hard to resist a rabbit.

This is not a bird

Playing around with the cut out pieces from my humming bird.

I fused them on to pink and during the night dreamed they should be covered in lace.


Pink and grey are a good combination, who knows what will happen next.

A new quilt shop

After months of rumours and false leads, Clair’s Fabrics has opened at Warran Glen Garden Centre, Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Warrandyte.

Once inside the doors there is plenty of fabric in the bright modern style and Clair ready to provide friendly advice. After so many shops closing it is good news that one has opened close to home.

Another horse chestnut tree in full flower spotted over the fence at the nursery. This one has flowers that are much darker than the ones I saw at Banksia Park.

Reverse appliqué

On Friday two weeks ago I spent the whole day in a workshop with Grace Errea. She specialises in appliqué quilts and has developed some new techniques. I quite like reverse appliqué by hand and was curious on how it could be done by machine.

The example used in the class was more like a lead light window effect and involved many steps to achieve an interesting result. To adhere the fabrics before stitching we used dilute Liquid Thread on the back of black fabric. The pattern was transferred using freezer paper on the front and cutting was done with a craft knife.

I really like having a small practice piece first to learn the basics of the technique.

Things got rather sticky when we moved on to a larger project and much more adhesive was used. By the end of the day I had the finished outline of a humming bird pressed onto my background.

Since then I have zigzag stitched it down and added a flower outline  of my own design. It is lightly quilted with leaves, buds and a flower and today I finished the binding. I had read about binding with a faux flange earlier this year and as Grace likes wide binding with a flange thought I would give it a go. I downloaded these instructions and used the suggested measurements. It is pretty easy, all done by machine. But I would used different proportions next time and take care about the measurement on the back as well as the front for a result that is as good as my usual binding.

Just for fun I coloured in-between the zigzagging on the back with fabric pen to make a reversed image.