The city of Canberra is made beautiful by more than the exteriors of buildings, the sparkling surfaces of lakes and its open landscapes. Canberra is also home to a very special kind of beauty, not normally visible anywhere but inside the homes of some of the best craftspeople in the city – the richly coloured and intricate artworks of our quilters.
Two fixed points in my calendar are the autumn Royal Canberra Show and the winter Canberra Craft and Quilt Fair. I love these two events for many reasons, but best of all, I love that for a few days the quilt art festooning the walls of quilt-crafters’ homes all around Canberra come out into exhibition halls for us to see.
In this ‘matched set’ I offer photographs of some of the quilts from that touched my sense of beauty, whimsy, and yes, even touched my heart. Perhaps you will feel the magic too.
Lyn Steele, “A Dream Garden,” Wall Quilts, Non-Professional 80 x 127 cm
2007 Canberra Quilters Exhibition, entry #37
I love the luscious colours and textures in Steele’s idealised garden scene. I can imagine myself taking tea on the patio to the left while contemplating the peacocks in the foreground and the reflective waters.
Margo Hardie, “Floriade” (detail)
2006 Bernina Best of Show and Best Use of Colour
Margo Hardie describes her quilt as “Made in Baltimore style from my own patterns, sketched from many photos and pictures of vintage quilts and museum exhibits.”
Daphne Mahon, “Le Stelle” 60 x 60 cm
2007 Canberra Quilters Exhibit – Wall quilt Non-professional, entry #53
This geometrical pattern coupled with the rich organic patterns of the featured cloth squares and subtle embroidered border are in perfect and beautiful balance. It was entered in a non-professional category, but it looks pretty professional to me!
Carolyn Greig, Naïve Patchwork, Royal Canberra Show
2007 1st in Class (Class 938 #1172)
Carolyn Greig’s lovely hand-stiched quilt appears on the surface to be whimsical, but beneath the whimsy the quilt is a moving tribute to a loved one, figured as an angel.
Carole Medley, “Japanese Dreaming”258 x 201 cm
2007 Canberra Quilters Exhibit – Bed quilt, non-professional, entry #17
Susan Wood, 2013 Royal Canberra Show
(Class 666 #962)
The shading Wood creates with the tiny pieces of differing hued fabrics creates such a wonderful sense of movement and balance!
Janette James, Naïve Patchwork, Royal Canberra Show
2007 2nd in Class (Class 938 #1207)
This teddy bear couple are just gorgeous!
Margaret Davies, “Girls Night Out on a Hot August Night”
Challenge Quilts 70 x 50 cm, 2007 Canberra Quilters Exhibition, Entry #153
By now you might be getting the impression that I gravitate towards the quilts that feature images and vignettes. You’re not wrong! This quilt features an elegant woman with an impeccable sense of fashion. Genius!
Margaret Ferrett, “Interpretation of Animals in the Wild”
2nd Prize, 2012 Royal Canberra Show, Class 800, #1082
Sulfur-crested cockatoos in a quilt – what’s not to love? I particularly like the way Ferrett created a sense of abundance for this small flock of happy parrots by making the tree leaves look almost like an endless supply of seeds.
Pat Parker, “Autumn Transitions” 108 x 137 cm
Canberra Quilters Exhibition, Wall Quilts Non-Professional, #57
And last, but definitely not least, an abstract representation of autumn. Doesn’t Parker’s fabric choices create a sense of the last splashes of summer colour becoming enveloped in a blanket of fallen leaves? Very apropos at the moment here as we drift into the start of autumn.