Archive for March, 2009

Back in the swing of things

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Quilt swing

I’ve been out of the loop for far too long, and I wanted to post a quick note to let people know what’s been happening, and why I’ve been away.

Last month, we had the worst natural disaster that Australia has ever seen in recorded history – bushfires that destroyed whole towns, killed over 210 people and made 7,500 homeless. The fires burnt over 1,700 sq. miles (450,000 hectares; 1.1 million acres) and came with a ferocity and a speed no-one here has EVER seen before. 

If you are in the US, or overseas from Australia, you may have seen it on the news for a day, perhaps a couple of times over a week, but for us here it’s been weeks of living with the horror, shock, grief and more complicated emotions as the days unrolled. I don’t want to write a lot about it: much, much has been said on my own blogs, friends’ blogs and the sites of the relief efforts.

For the craft community in Australia, which is tight-knit (pun intended) and strong, we were and are still aware of the friends whose towns were obliterated, who mourn good friends and family, and who live in camps, trailers or temporary accommodation, surrounded by ash. For so many, nothing will be the same again. We have an overwhelming desire to give, to do something to help. We can also burn ourselves out with the extended emotion over weeks. Crafting for anything — other than another quilt to place around a kid and their single Mom whose house is gone — well, it just doesn’t happen. 

Jennifer, you’ve been wonderfully supportive of our efforts through initiatives such as Handmade Helps, the bushfire fundraising cookbook I am co-editing with a handful of crafty ladies, and the sewing bees run by wonderful crafters. Thank you for understanding when I disappeared from Posted Stitches. 

There are still quilts being made, packs of fabric and sewing notions packed in my front room, ready to be delivered to crafters who lost everything, the cookbook to be edited, friends to keep an eye out for, and above all, money to be raised for the long term, for the rehabilitation and those extras beyond the basic needs for shelter and food. Winter is coming here in Australia, but now there are many hands to help and the load is slowly getting lighter. 

We’ll be back to Posted Stitches soon, with the previous quilt, a new one to show you — and perhaps a mid-year challenge to pitch the Aussies against the Americans in a good old-fashioned art quilt challenge bout. (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! -Oi Oi Oi.)

Oh, hang on, I’m Canadian. What do we shout, eh?  (It’s probably something like – ‘Excuse me, pardon me, but if you don’t mind, that’s my quilt, eh?’) 

xo

Bev

 

Oh! My goodness

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

What a lovely quilt.

Jennifer, that quilt is so worth waiting for. I’m really, truly impressed. I know that life has thrown you some bumpy bits and way too much work recently, but this is lovely, and inspiring, and direct and honest and true. Your art is really growing somewhere, you know?Even the colours — although I chose them for you — they became yours somehow and I forgot that they weren’t exactly the fabrics you would choose for yourself.

A big standing ovation for you for this one! I love them all, but each new quilt is a delight to meet.

Bev

Okay, now I’m done with my quilt. Really.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Hi Bev,

Yesterday I thought this quilt was “finished” and I posted the “final” photo. But the quilt was missing something and it bugged me all day. It needed some free-motion quilting, so I bought some invisible thread today at the fabric store and headed home to finish the job.

When I got done, the girls and I chased the setting sun to a patch of sidewalk across the street for a quick photo in fading natural light.

So, now, I think I’m finally finished. Really.

Cheers,

Jen

My ‘Posted Stitches’ Protest Quilt Is Finally Done

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Hi Bev.

It’s been too long since my last art quilt and it feels really good to finally finish this one. At first I struggled to decide what to protest. There are so many injustices and and conflicts in the world that it was difficult to choose one. In the end, I went with one of my biggest concerns: war.

Obviously, I decided to protest with a sense of humor, substituting “aprons” for “love” in the old “Make love, not war” protest.

Intellectually, I understand the reasons why wars are waged and support the Americans fighting overseas right now even thought I don’t agree with the circumstances under which the war started. I just don’t believe war is the best, most logical way to settle disputes. So, I decided to suggest one protest alternative that I haven’t heard before.

I know wars won’t end with peaceful craft sessions anytime soon, but wouldn’t it be great?

To make this quilt, I sketched out the design, then made my applique using a paper piecing method. To give the quilt some dimension, I decided to stuff the bust of the the woman’s T-shirt and make her apron hang off the quilt like a real apron.

I scrapped the first shirt I started embroidering because I changed my mind on the text. Before I settled on the war protest theme, I started stitching “Save the aprons” on the shirt. When I changed my mind, I had to cut a new shirt and start over. I’m glad I did.

So there you have it. Now it’s time to move on to our next project.

Cheers,

Jennifer