Monday, August 19, 2013

Essence of Australia

My quilt was inspired by the tree at the front of my house.
 It has gorgeous bark
and it so happened that I had fabric in similar tones.
Because the colours and the tree are so iconic, I wanted something iconic to go with the fabric, so I chose the verse of Dorothea Mackellar's famous poem, "My Country"*. I think just about everyone in Australia knows the words that start "I love a sunburnt country..."  I wrote the words out on a 12 inch by 12 inch sheet of paper, just to make sure they would fit.
*By arrangement with the Licensor, The Dorothea Mackellar Estate, c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.
I rewrote them on the quilt sandwich itself, using a Frixion pen.  Then the quilting started.
I knew I wanted to use the leaves in some way.
I happened to have some used (and dried) tea bags.  Ah!  Bush tea is a combination of very strong black tea, swirled with a gum leaf for flavour.  I scattered the leaves over the quilt top, then laid a tea bag on top and stitched around each leaf.
I cut around the leaf shape.
These are real, untreated leaves.  As I stitched, I got the scent of the eucalyptus - and as they dry out and crumble, there will be only the shape left - hence "essence" in both cases.
I did a faced finish rather than a binding, as I wanted a clean edge.  I slightly rounded the corners.

Check out the following blogs/posts for more creative inspiration!

15 August             Linda Stokes         
17 August             Robyn McGrath               SAQA Oceania blog
21 August             Felicity Clarke       
24 August             Susan Mathews     


  1. Always enjoying how the effects are achieved - it's great, Kate.

  2. Love this Kate - it is beautiful and love the story that goes with it

  3. The way you put the leaves on the quilt was very moving and poetic. Your work is very soft and delicate. You are creative for being inspired by your tree. A moving and stunning work.