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)

Ralli Quilts

This page will focus on ideas generated during the process of research for a paper to be given at the forthcoming 'Space/Globalization'  conference (the details of which are on the 'About This Project' page of this blog).
This page will be written in reverse chronological order--the most recent writing will be at the top of the page. Additions will be dated.

Monday, April 19 2012

Ralli Applique Quilt
45 x 65 inches

Ralli Quilt
75 x 75 inches

Kantha Quilt
Southern Seams Exhibition

A Ralli Quilt
163 x 188 cm

Thursday, March 15 2012

This project opens up a number of ideas and the possibility of generating links between them. When I visited Nepal in 2004 I was overwhelmed with the feeling I was returning home...the sights, sounds, smells were all so familiar. Logically this sensation made no sense:
  • This was my first visit to Nepal
  • I come from an Irish/English background and now live in Australia
  • I am tall, freckled and have red hair, so I even looked completely out of place in Kathmandu
So how come I felt so in place, so at home?

I did, however, have a nomadic childhood. We moved country every two or three years. My first almost continuous memories are of Quetta Pakistan when I was five/six years old. I remember going to the market with my mother to visit a women's collective to collect embroidered table cloths she had ordered; I still have and use two of these table cloths.

When my mother died four years ago I came across a collection of black and white photographs from the time we lived in Quetta--our house, the garden, the dog we inherited, social gatherings, my parents, my younger brother - and - one of my mother and myself in the market:

So I have these photographs, an exhibition of Ralli quilts I saw in Lincoln Nebraska at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, 'South Asia Seams' and the following references to start with:
  • Patricia Ormsby Stoddard (2003) 'Ralli Quilts: Traditional Textiles from Pakistan and India', Schiffer Publishing Ltd
  • Amit Chaudhuri (2008) 'Clearing a Space: reflections on India, Literature and Culture', Peter Lang
  • Viji Srinivasan, Skye Morrison, Laila Tyabji, and Dorothy Caldwell (2007) Stitching Women's Lives: Sujuni and Khatwa from Bihar, India, in 'The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production' Joan Livingstone & John Ploof (eds), MIT Press, 159-180
  • Jane Rendell (2010) 'Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism', I B Tauris
The references themselves also have/represent personal connections (rather than of theoretical academic kind). 
  • Amit Chaudhuri will be at the conference so I ordered his book, when I opened it at random I came across a passage on conflicted identities--so yes, I'm in the right place 
  • I met Dorothy Caldwell in 2004 and did one of her workshops. Dorothy focuses on the kantha quilts from Bihar. A week with Dorothy completely changed my practice--before we met I rarely hand stitched, now all my quilts are hand 'quilted'
Maya's Quilt (2011)

  • When I started reading Jane Rendell's book, 'Site-Writing' I got a my (undated) notes on a essay in the book, 'To Miss the Desert' (87-102) I was unprepared for the depth of feeling this piece of writing would have on me. One one level (the first reading) I found it confusing--I didn't understand, a felt resistance to comprehension), the on another it generated clear images from my own past and the desert. As I delved deeper in the book, I had this uncanny feeling that Rendell was writing my story as her and my story are remarkably similar...she grew up in various countries across the Middle and Far East, at one stage in our childhoods we were both 'left behind'. Deleuze and Guatarri write of the nomad: the life of the nomad is the intermezzo (Thousand Plateaus, 419)  


  1. Nice to read about ralli quilts. Ralli quilts are traditional home textiles from Sindh Pakistan. If you like to learn more about those, just go to or

    1. Thank you! I've been checking any reference I can to the ralli and find them fascinating.