The idea of the travellers blanket is to tell stories with stitch- it is very much a process class as it is all about hand stitching and using fragments to relay the story. I am always amazed at the beautiful work produced with just these simple concepts and often simple stitching. People have used fabrics collected on trips, or given to them by friends or even fragments from family members, of hand printed memories encapsulating the seashore, or bright Indian memories, to sari scraps, or hand rusted fragments. Because of the lengthy process each piece seems imbued with a kind of cloth memory of all the thoughts that passed through your hands as you work with the cloth.
The following blanket is from a few years back and records my ideas about the discovery of Australia and the journeys of discovery inland. Just a little over 200 years ago white man landed in Australia and proceeded to scurry across the land claiming it for British government and settlers. Murder and genocide was perpetrated on the indigenous population that was present at the time of landing and settlement. Explorers perished in the harsh desert and tropical conditions- not a single one of them consulted the lore and knowledge of the local indigenous people who travelled the land on foot from one end to the other for thousands of years. Such was the explorers confidence that they knew better- were more scientific and therefore superior they preferred to die than have a conversation with the local indigenous people. So the wriggling lines represent the explorers moving around the circles of intense local knowledge- not once consulted but rich with knowledge and stories. It seems to me that much of the world still travels in this way.
Each circle has been made with quite simple stitches, but I have tried to create a visual richness for each circle to suggest their stories.
The background cloth is hand dyed Khadi cloth- and you can see how the dye wicks along the hand spun threads almost ikat like. The cloth is also beautiful and soft to stitch through and seems to love hand stitching.