Last year I visited Alice Springs to teach a workshop and have a short holiday with my husband. Having never been to the NT before, little did I know what I was in store for. I never imagined this landscape could be so beautiful and unique. I imagined Alice Springs sitting in the middle of flat and brown spinifex, not surrounded by the beautiful and unique MacDonnell ranges. On my way home, with a book of sketches and a swag of photos, I mapped out a series of quilt ideas that would become a new body of work on central Australia. This would be divided into three parts, Landscape, Flora and Fauna, and Cultural.
Kata Tjuta: tone, shape, scale
Kata Tjuta: colour, texture, marks
In my few hours at Kata Tjuta, I did not race around taking a lot of photos like the other visitors but found a spot by myself and lay on my back. Looking up at the vast pocked marked walls of red contrasting with the turquoise sky, it was a great (and less exhausting) way of soaking in the atmosphere. The following small sketches here were done very quickly from the bus window.
A while back I did an online workshop called ‘Translating Landscape’ by Anita Lehmann. One of the briefs I really enjoyed was dividing up a page with one inch boxes and putting a tiny abstract landscape in each with watercolour, pastel and ink. This could be a way try and capture the essence of a place, rather than trying to capture the whole thing in one go (which could look very ‘blobby’).
Keeping with this idea and (trying) to keep everything loose and abstract, I quickly drew up some simple shapes that reminded me of my visit to Kata Tjuta. These were enlarged and assessed for their potential:
During the summer, I dyed and screen print a whole lot of fabric, with colours and marks in mind. I experimented a lot with breakdown printing, a method whereby thickened Procion dyes are allowed to dry on a silk screen, then printed onto cloth. Each subsequent pull with wet media, breaks down the dry dye, giving a unique effect and the texture I was after.
These fabrics were auditioned, cut and pinned on the design board using the above enlarged abstract squares. I tried to make each section complete in itself, as well as relating to each other. These were then pieced, with the violet and orange border fabric.
My original idea was to quilt the whole lot with big sweeping organic lines and then infill these with patterns. I had some difficulties getting the stitches and lines fluid enough, so resorted to quilting each square separately being sympathetic to the marks on the fabric.
You can see this quilt and lots of others at the National Wool Museum in Geelong, Victoria, Australia from 6/09/19 to 15/12/19
For more details see the Ozquilt network.