Kerry Wettenhall has sent her impressions of our Public Hanging last week for us to share. She took the time to to visit our quilt show before racing off to Margaret River where she was asked to judge a Quilt Show there. We were so lucky to have Kerry visit us and lend a hand. Thanks Kerry............
Walking along Priory Road on Sunday 10th October was a delight to behold. Hanging from the historical Priory Lodge was colour, design and productivity to delight the eye. After rising with the sun to hang the quilts in time, the triennial quilt exhibition by the Dongara Patchwork and Quilting group was in full swing. As you approached the entrance to the lodge you were greeted by the equally historical line up of vintage cars. The stories they could tell! What a great way to honour the building and the entire nature of quilting with its historical beginnings.
Patchwork and quilting have been around for centuries. They became the norm in poorer communities when people could not afford new clothes and instead devised new and decorative ways to make clothing last that little bit longer. As people became wealthier, it became an art form and a creative outlet for the many people who love to work with fabric. Some still made it their modus operandum to use recycled fabrics and turned out incredible works of art that are both practical and decorative.
In our modern society, there are many family members who grew up with quilts on their beds, quilts were given for significant birthdays and anniversaries, not to mention weddings and the birth of children. There is still a resourceful army of stitchers who use recycled fabrics, as there is an equally big army of stitchers who support the local and online fabric stores, trawling through new and colourful ranges of fabrics that are simply to die for, and sorting out the useful fabrics from the more decorative ones which need more planning and arranging to achieve the desired result in the forthcoming quilt or work of art. One hundred years ago, quilters used the fabric scraps available; now they purchase from the latest designer ranges which are released three or four times a year, just like the clothing ranges.
Many of the works on display on the weekend were made in workshops which were organized to teach new techniques. Others were made according to the maker’s inspiration. Some were even made to answer a request. Whichever the motive, they have all achieved a stunning result to meet their needs and desires.
As I wandered through the sections of the displays it blew me away to see the enormous amount of colour choices made, the equally enormous amount of design choices (the number of quilt patterns is countless and growing) which lead to the enormous amount of productivity. There on the two levels of the verandah were the last three years of quilts in all sizes – serviceable and delightful at the same time. We were invited to choose our favorite – a tall order – the Japanese one or the blue one? The pink one is delightful too. What about this brightly coloured one?
As I wander on to the back room I passed a display which took me down memory lane – the wrought iron furniture with quilts decorating it, yesterday’s dolls occupying the cots, beautiful embroidery, lovely old lace and all the charm of days gone by. Enter the back room and you find it is already Christmas. What an amazing display of quilts, ornaments and Santas, with the table set ready to receive this year’s guests. Alongside this display was a charming miniature village called Lilliput. I am sure every person in Lilliput owned a quilt and they were all hanging on the line to greet you. But they could have been missed because each quilt was only about five centimeters big. Across the room various members of this esteemed group of quilters were demonstrating the finer details of the art of piecing and quilting. Newcomers to this art form would have received excellent coaching.
Move on upstairs and enter the passage that is lined with thong (the original meaning of footwear is intended here) quilts till you have arrived at the beach. This area is decked out in quilts with the ocean theme, some fishy, some boaty, some extraordinarily colourful and all complemented by a fun selection of Beach Bum art. I could only smile at the excellent arrangement of both quilts and canvas.
Devonshire teas were on offer at the show and eagerly snapped up. Stall holders on the lower lawn tended their wares and a sausage sizzle was in full swing as I left to return to Perth. In fact the only thing to mar the day was a single shower of rain in the middle of the morning, but this is farming country and who minds a drop of rain!
Ladies of the Dongara Patchwork and Quilting Group I compliment you all on a fabulous display of your work. It was certainly worth the trip from Perth and already I look forward to the next one in three years time.