ELECTION TIME (?)

As you have probably heard by now:
“Australia appears set for a double-dissolution federal election on July 2 after the government’s bill to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission failed to pass the Senate – again.” – The Conversation 

Late last year I made a gift for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – a Wagga quilt adorned with 121 hand stitched messages for the PM from over 100 Australian citizens who contributed to this project. When I reached out and asked people to contribute their messages for the PM my promise to them was that I would ensure the quilt gets to him. PM-PLZ-Quilt.jpg

Over the past few months I’ve been exploring many different avenues to get this quilt to Turnbull: I’ve tried mailing and emailing his office, reaching out on social media, getting in touch with people who know him, local politicians, his neighbours, friends of friends etc. all to no avail. Mostly, those who know and are in contact with Turnbull are reluctant to bring this project up, reluctant to ask him if he would be willing to receive this gift in case it would be a breach of protocol.
However, on the plus side the quilt is due to go up at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in July for 7 weeks. The plan was to send him a formal invitation to attend the exhibition from the museum and give the quilt to him at the end of the seven week installation.  However, it is now apparent that will be AFTER the election, meaning there is a chance Turnbull will no longer be PM…
So, once again I am reaching out to you my friends and fellow citizens: I need your help in getting our gift to Turnbull’s. If you know how to get hold of him, if you can ask him whether he would be willing to accept this gift – I will fly anywhere in the country in order to hand this quilt over to him.
Can you help?

Above are a few examples of the 121 messages hand stitched onto this quilt.

 

🙂

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Girls just want to have FUNdamental human rights!

This is just a bit of an update about what I’ve been up to lately and what projects are coming up just over the horizon… in no particular order. 

Firstly, I was extremely honoured to have recently visited “Knit Your Revolt” superstar Shannon Morton in Brisbane to talk all things Craftivism. She said that my figurative quilting has inspiered her to create a story quilt about the “Knit Your Revolt” gang. So we met up so I could show her some techniques and talk more broadly about the power of craftivism. We made this little prototype portrait of one of the gang members: 
 
After which Shannon made gave me a “Knit Your Revolt Tricycle Gang” patch and made me a member of the gang (even though I can’t knit!). I’m so stoked about it – watch this space for future Craftivism actions taken as part of this inspiring group of dissenters.     

After this exciting trip to sunny Queensland it was time to head back to Melbourne and get started on the next two projects:  

The ‘Great Stash Swap’ and ‘fGeneration: Feminism, Art, Progression’ 

I was very excited to be invited to take part in these two totally separate really awesome projects. The Great Statsh Swap was a week long event organised by fellow Craftivist and Crafiti artist Sayraphim Lothian. The project involved getting a bunch of crafty people to get there fabric stacks together at Gallery 314 in Richmond, Melbourne and then to basically swap it for other people’s stash. Over the week this was happening Sayraphim held a sort of pop-up artist in residence, where she invited one artist/crafter to sit and make in the space with her every day. I was one of those lucky artists invited to raid the loot and make something out of it. This was super timely because I had just been invited by artist and curator Caroline Phillips to contribute to an upcoming exhibition at the George Paton Gallery, Melbourne titled: fGeneration: feminism, art, progression. So I ended up making a mini-appliqué quilted hanging titled “Girls just want to have FUNdamental human rights” as my contribution to the exhibition while at The Great Stash Swap. 

This is me making at The Great Stash Swap…    

I’m also going to show another little mini-embroided quilted hanging at fGeneration, this one is titled “Feminist KillJoy”. I made just for fun not long ago and luckily for me it fits right in with the exhibition theme!

 

Venus Court

Another really exciting art-making project which I’m happy to finally be able to share is my first ever commission. Venus Court is a Melbourne based band made up of two talented brothers Jake and Sam O’Brien, I’ve known them forever and my partner George Carpenter produced their upcoming EP at his Gold Coast studio ‘Little Pink’. They have both been big supporters of my work and at the start of the year they asked me to make them a quilted banner for their band that they can use on stage. I made them this hanging below (2m x2m)  and they were so stoked with it that they’ve decided to use it as the cover of their upcoming EP! 

  

This is them standing in front of the hanging during the photo shoot for the cover – as you can see it’s a portrait of them.  
 

Below is a super close up to give you a sense of what the work looks like up close and in 3D.

  

In between these bigger projects I’ve been playing around with some smaller crafty ideas. I’ve started hand making patches using felt and embroidery and I’ve also started a very ambitious cross-stitching piece as my response/contribution to Peter Drew’s “Real Australian’s Say Welcome” campaign. 

   
  
As you can see this cross stitch is nowhere near finished – I can’t believe how long it takes! Luckily I was in bed for three weeks with pneumonia recently otherwise I would never of got as much as I have done. I guess its going to be one of those ongoing labour of love type pieces.

Upcoming Projects:  

Finally, I have three really exciting projects coming up in the next 6 months that will make up the primary case-studies for my practice-led PhD research. They are all socially engaged craftivism projects that involve a partnership with different non-profit organisations. 

The first is a non-traditional residency with Igniting Change, a charity that works to support some really outstanding organisations including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. I will be spending about 4 weeks over Oct/Nov this year in their office space making a story-quilt that celebrates the values of the organisation and shares some of the impacts they’ve had. I’ll be donating this work to Igniting Change so they can use it as a story telling device to help with communicating their complex work going forward. 

The second will be a project delivered when I’m a guest-in-residence at the Billilla Historic Mansion in Brighton thanks to artist and craftivist Kate Just who has kindly given me her studio there while she is overseas. The project will involve raising funds and awareness for the International Woman’s Development Agency through me making and giving away a appliqué quilted portrait of the first 50 people who donate $50 to the organisation as part of this campaign. I’ll be launching this project in December so keep an eye out for that. 

The final project is a series of Crafternoons which I will facilitate at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in Ballarat. These workshops will hapen around March 2016 and focus around the issue of getting young people engaged and excited about voting. Again I’ll have more information to share about this project later in the year.   

  
Oh yeah, and I nearly forgot – I am also going to be contributing a quilted/appliqué hanging to an exhibition that the Ballarat Quilters Association is holding at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in Ballarat. Contributors to this exhibition were asked to create works in response to the lyrics from a selection of songs about freedom and democracy. My contribution will be called “this old freedom train is such a long time in a comin'” and above is a work-in-progress shot of the piece.  

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for more updates in the coming weeks. 

x  

Sad But True

“Western democracies are only the political facades of economic power. A facade with colours, banners, endless debates about sacrosanct democracy. We live in an era where we can discuss everything. With one exception: Democracy. She is there, an acquired dogma. Don’t touch, like a museum display. Elections have become the representation of an absurd comedy, shameful, where the participation of the citizen is very weak, and in which the governments represent the political commissionaires of economic power”

(Saramago, in Saramago & Jacob, 2006, p.144)

Translated by Erik Swyngedouw in Interrogating post-democratization: Reclaiming egalitarian political spaces published in Political Geography, 2011
www.elsevier.com/locate/polgeo