australian quilts & mongolian eagles…

18 Aug

WEEK THIRTY-TWO (august 8-14)

The week starts in a rush. I need to finish ‘robbie had a little lamb’ quickly.
With the photo-on-fabric coloured, then stitched to form a little dimensional parcel, I turn to the frame.
I’m using an Ikea frame but I need to rework it so that the fabric ‘parcel’ sits at the back – not close to the glass.
I also hunt out a screen shot of a very old movie, of our family farm, that I print on heavy paper stock. The photo is blurred and frizzled on both the old film and the screen but it is perfect for my use. I love it. I love the simplicity of thought that acheived this look – which came from years of practice!

robbie had a little lamb complete

Packing for going away is blah and so is choosing clothes to take – even though I wear a load of black – and I like to keep my luggage minimal so I can leave room in the suitcase for new treasures.
I reckon I need an app to help acheive my minimal pack…to eradicate the wardrobe hunt and the I’ve got nothing to wear feeling. I think I need proof that I do have enough.
Some app hunting is required on my return! I know there will be something out there.

By late Wednesday we are in Albert Park, Melbourne, in a delightful air b’n’b apartment above a pharmacy. This lovely little abode is convenient to all that we need – cafes, restaurants, public transport and a VERY extensive book store.

Catch-ups begin with family and friends and it is a wonderful relaxing time. This was a highlight of the trip, obviously, but the real reason I was there was because of this and the the other photos that follow…..only a few of hundreds….

making the australian quilt

This was this type of quilt that got me into quilting.
The intricacy, the naiveity, and especially the stories.
As you can now see, this visit to Melbourne was also to view the Making the Australian Quilt  exhibition at the NGV and to introduce myself to many of the quilts that I know so well from books, as well as to revisit others that I had met before.

making the australian quilt

My first visit was with my dear friend Helen who is NOT a quilter.
She traveled up from Geelong – to catch up with me and to see these works.
As expected it was wonderful.
My big bonus though, was for me to see everything through her eyes. As a non-quilter she is not familiar with the techniques, the fabrics, the blocks and the history. As her self appointed guide I could point out what made some of these quilt special – because not all are obviously beautiful or carefully constructed.

making the australian quilt

Another highlight of the week was to see two Mongolian films at the Melbourne International Film Festival …with my soon-to-be guide on an imminent textile trip to Mongolia.
The first film, Behemoth was hard viewing – about the exploitation of mine workers and surrounding dwellers by the Chinese mining companies. Not light by any means – but beautifully shot and an essential part of knowing the Mongolian story.

making the australian quilt

The must see, which will be released in October, scored a five out of five for all of us.
The Eagle Huntress is about a 13 year old girl living with her family in the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia. Every year the Altai Eagle Festival showcases the traditional skills of Eagle Hunting. The true story we view celebrates Aisholpan who wants to train her own eagle and to compete. Stunning in every way.

making the australian quilt

It is my (limited) knowledge of this Eagle festival that made me determined to travel to Mongolia on a textile tour lead by another lovely talented friend, Gabriella Verstraeten.
We will be there, up on the bare mountains, next month to view this extraordinary event. Thrilled and excited does not even begin to describe how I feel.
Perhaps there is a link with that wedge-tailed eagle that is stuff of legend in my mind?

making the australian quilt

There was plenty more to this week such as a scoot along, with the bloke, to another regular Melbourne haunt РSunday morning at Camberwell Markets.

There is always something that needs to come home with me.
This time my focus, although unplanned, was on jigsaws – old ones.
Jigsaw puzzles have been in my thought-lines as a base for artworks for years.
I occasionally buy an old op shop one….I think it is the connection to family again, as well as the visual….the old fashioned photos, the memories of holidays, and patience, and satisfaction.

making the australian quilt
These were projects that progressed slowly – either solo or done with family.
With family the chest thumping cry of ‘geez i’m good’ was paramount when a piece was placed. We survived many school holidays with this patient interaction combined with momentary glory.
Yep, memories…..love ’em.

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Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Act/Craft (Textiles/ Sculpture)
Living in Perth, Western Australia
Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher.