Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Hard Bed To Lie In

I first saw this extraordinary work, A Hard Bed To Lie In (2003) by Helen Gray and Emma Rees  at 'The New Quilt 2003', and it has stayed with me ever since as an example of the potential of the quilt form as a powerful medium of expression. 

In the weekend of January 18-19 2003, a bush fire raged through the suburbs of  Canberra

Friday, June 15, 2012

Art of Place & Displacement: Art of Place & Displacement

Art of Place & Displacement: Art of Place & Displacement: Reflections on place and displacement through art and poetry                            ... A friend sent me a link to her new blog, and I am including it in this post as a recommendation. I am writing this post on an iPad - a new learning experience - I shall be travelling and planning to write posts (and keep adding to the 'blogbook' page) during this time.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Lover Circles his own Heart: Hossein Valamanesh

I have been an admirer of Hossein Valamanesh's work for some time. I am a regular visitor to his work in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Middle Path (2008 ), On May 7th, and for the first time, I saw his installation, The Lover Circles his own Heart (1993) currently on display at

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Prayer Wheel Quilt

Red Prayer Wheel Quilt (2005)
114 x 148 cm 
An old Tibetan monk tells me the soul has no memory; the dead do not feel their past. This is left to the living. 
 (Colin Thurbon, 'To a Mountain in Tibet', 10) 

It was on our first day in Kathmandu that we visited Boudhanath and walked around the base of the Stupa in a clockwise direction spinning the prayer wheels as we went.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Quilt Index

I found a link to the Quilt Index by chance when looking for images of Ralli quilts and am including this brief post as a future reference and well as the possibility of hours pent browsing for lovers of the quilt form!
The following reference explains the process of developing The Quilt Index Wiki for those interested in the details:
Archives & Museum Informatics: Museums and the Web 2009: Paper: Macdowell, M., et al., The Quilt Index Goes 2.0: A Fiberspace Case Study

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Paper Quilts' by Declan O'Connor

Paper Quilt (one of a series) 2011
Declan O'Connor
approx.  21 x 29.5 cm, texta on paper

This extraordinary quilt is by young artist, Declan O'Connor whom I had the privilege of meeting at Studio Artes late last year.

Quilts are conventionally defined as 'two or more layers of textile held together by stitching (quilting)'. Quilts can be broadly divided into three forms, which describe the upper layer as either pieced (patchwork), applique, or whole cloth. Furthermore, quilts are most often associated with cloth, that is a woven or felted material (OED).

So, with this definition in mind, how do Declan's Paper Quilts fit into the category of quilts?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marathon des Sables

A short note to recommend the courage of my eldest - and possibly a bit crazy -  nephew Sam Weston-Simons who is competing in this year's Marathon des Sables. Sam is raising money for a childrens' hospital (The Burns Malawi Trust) where he has worked (Sam is well on  his way to becoming an orthapaedic surgeon). I shall be thinking of him every day until I hear he has arrived safely at the finish.
So please check out his blog, the race has already begun!

Postscript, Sunday April 15:
We turned on our internet this morning to hear that Sam has completed the Marathon des Sables coming in 167 overall - an extraordinary achievement! We all wish him many many congratulations.

Post-Postscript, Wednesday April 18
Sam has arrived home safely! I've just checked  his blog and he has left detailed comments about the gear he took with him (they had to carry all their own supplies) as well as comments about his training shedule. I may not (will never be!) a marathon runner but I am a keen bush walker (trekker) and I found his comments fascinating and informative so here is the link to his blog again in case someone who reads this is interested.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is the past a foreign country?

So this is where it starts. An exhibition of quilts from India, Pakistan & Bangladesh, South Asian Seams at the International Quilt Center & Museum. I was in Lincoln, Nebraska for the Textile Society of America conference where I first presented research on quilts and this blog. I had walked through the first room past quilts from Bangladesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharasahtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat--then round a corner into the second room, and here it was a charpoy (bed/day bed) covered with a quilt from Southern Sindh in Pakistan. The applique technique is a hallmark of the work of the Muslim Charhan quilters, which often includes mirrors and sequins. This quilt was made sometime between 1950 and 1980.
Yet that's the technical part, my response to coming across the charpoy extends even wider and deeper than my interest in quilts...all of a sudden

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Black Rabbits, White Rabbits

I had intended to publish this post to coincide with the new month. As a child we used to say, 'black rabbits'on the night before the first of the month and 'white rabbits' to greet the new month when we awoke next morning. That was the plan anyway. This ritual came to mind when I first visited The White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, a suburb of inner Sydney (Australia). I was bowled over on my first visit


A few months ago a friend who lives some distance away visited me in my studio and brought with her some of her embroidery to show me. We decided to work on a collaboration--she would bead some cloth and then I would make a book using the cloth for the cover. We agreed on A6 as an approximately size. Weeks later a exquisite beaded piece of silk arrived and I began to wonder if I had bitten off more than I was prepared for...I make books that are imperfect: papers of varous types, papers hand-cut and folded, no one book the same size as the next. What is more, the cloth was stripped

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jan Zwicky - Poet and Philosopher

This week, more than usual, I've been thinking about the writing of poetry. The reason? I'm attending a weekend workshop (I had actually written wordshop, which is probably more appropriate) on the writing of poetry with Mark Tredinnick, and he asked us to send four poems, and in return, he sent us four of his. One of Mark's poems entitled, Partita, is dedicated to Jan Zwicky. Mark has recommended her poems before, so I decided to take a longer look. Now Mark is an essayist, writer, inspiring teacher and in essence, a philosopher as well, and looking at Jan Zwicky's biography and her poems, I can see why he has suggested I read her work.

I have added a link to her biography and a video from youtube, so you can decide for yourself whether you add her to your reading list, as I intend to mine.

Jan Zwicky - Poet and Philosopher 

So what, you may also ask, has this to with quilts?

A whole lot, is my answer. I've spend time this year thinking about

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fragments, Connections: a day in the life

  1. Yesterday I bought a copy of the October issue of Art Monthly to read an article by Ruth Hadlow, The Library of Translation Exercises: dis/location and creative practice in West Timor (74-76). Within the library is Diary, a virtual book and available on the web, made in collaboration with designer Neal Haslem.
  2. Also in this issue is a review by Chris Raja of The Donald Friend Diaries: Chronicles and Confessions of an Australian Artist edited by Ian Britain (82). I have a copy of the full version of the diaries that included Friend's time in Hill End, linked by my research into the work of Judy McDermott who spent time as artist-in-residence in Hill End in 1999, and again in 2000. Last month I attended an opening of Julie Ryder's exhibition, Companion Planting a series of works

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Logs, Blogs, Journals & Quilts

Soon after I set up this blog I added a 'Blogbook' to record my thoughts and, if you've visited it recently, you'll know I spent two weeks in a ship travelling south along the Kamchatka Peninsula.
I have returned my mind full of thoughts about travelling by sea--ship's charts, logbooks (either digital or handwritten), I have the brief notes I made each night in my diary, the ship's chronicle published each morning and, a quilt I stitched each day (not that I had intended it as a record of the journey but it had become inexorably linked to the experience). The quilt is to be a gift for my nephew's young son: cloth purchased in New York, made in Japan (plus other cloth from my collection), machine pieced before I left, and I continue to stitch it on my return home as I think over the adventures we had along the way. I am stitching the names of animals in both English and Russian (owl, tiger, plus tree, flower, and my nephew's name and the names of his mother and father in Russian). And the quilt is an unexpected connection to my thoughts about recording of journeys. This morning I found a facsimile of part of James Cook's log on the NSW State Library website, and that's but a beginning.

The Ship's digital Log:
September 6 Gavrilla Bay
(not yet the Kamchatka Peninsula, we are still in
the Gulf of Anadyr, the Chukotka region of Far East Russia)
The Akademik Shokalskiy

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Real Pretend Wagga for Paul Klee

At the opening f the TSA conference in October last year, an invitation was extended to the audience to propose quilts to be added to the collection of the International Quilt Study Centre & Museum. Earlier this year a submission was sent detailing three quilts by Judy McDermott in response to this invitation.

I am excited to report that IQSC have selected A Real Pretend Wagga for Paul Klee (1997) to be part of their collection:

Judy McDermott: A Real Pretend Wagga for Paul Klee (1997)
82 x 122 cm
Wool/acrylic and wool fabrics, machine pieced and hand quilted with hand-dyed silk thread
In Judy's own words:
This quilt is all about colour. What to do with the ferocious orange from the op shop? Add greens, as did Paul Klee in his colour studies. The yellow "makes the orange sing", says Johannes Itten, author of The Art of Colour. A wagga is a traditional Australian quilt or bush blanket made from wheat bags, old clothes, or found scrap materials. Many are cobbled together, although my favourite is 'sewn' with wire.    
(Artist's statement, Quilt National 1999)
Horizontal lines are present in a number of Judy's quilts--in the 'Big House' series as prison bars, in the 'Quilting Hill End ' series as picket fences that

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Velvet Highway - Blankets of Wisdom by Luciano Ghersi

I have started to subscribe to fiberQuarterly  an on-line journal from Canada. The first (or 'my' first) issue contains an article: 'Blankets of Wisdom' by Luciano Ghersi. It includes the following photograph, one which immediately attracted my attention:

The article can be read as a whole via the link above, so I won't attempt to summarise it here. 

It touches on the emotional and haptic connections to the blanket (the quilt) as do the images and patterns used.