Thursday, August 08, 2013

Once Upon a Time

I will get to the once upon a time a bit later, so you  can turn off. I have been finishing up work for  the Voyageart Exhibition which will take place at Veldhoven/ Open European Quilt Championships in October 2013. I must admit that I had sold some of the works, simply because  I needed to and there was a buyer. So it means I have had to remake some of the pieces which of course takes time and which I was putting off.  However this week I decided to catch up on things. I also had to finish a piece for this years challenge we have going, as I was behind on that too. So firstly the replacement pieces I have made ( I made an extra because when you use the tifaifai technique you end up with a positive and negative , and I had lost the negative for the piece I made last year). The top piece is the positive image and I have hand printed the seeds into place. Thenext piece  is the negative , which remained after cutting out the top piece. I quite like the negative, it seems much more medieval looking to me and you can see I have done a lot of stitching. So which one to choose?

 Then of course there are poppies. I have sold a few of these- they are quite popular.  Unfortunately I am running out of the Mettler 30 weight silk finish threads they sponsored my exhibit in Vicenza last year ( I absolutely love these threads) and have not been able to source them in Geelong. I have written a few hopeful letters in the hope of getting some more sponsorship but so far not a reply.

Below  on the left is the image of the piece  I have created for this years Voyageart challenge. I will write more about it on the Voyageart blog

I also have work at Festival of Quilts this year as well with Beneath the Southern Sky exhibition curated by Brenda Gael Smith and with  the Through Our Hands exhibition as well. Wish I could be there, maybe next time!
 The image on the right is stitching with Printfuse. Victorian textiles sent me some samples  to play around with,as someone told me it was similar to  Solufix. I find the photo print quality slightly better on Solufix but otherwise the Print fuse works in exactly the same way and after all the importance of the photo quality is not important to the end product. One amusing thing I have found though , that if I do not print off the original photo on photo paper as a guide, then the  resulting stitching becomes a bit more abstract than the original, and I quite like that!

 And then ...
once upon a time on a cold blustery windy day  on the 8th of August 1965 a young dutch family arrived aboard the Flavia in Melbourne, i was the 9 year old daughter in that family. It was freezing  especially as the sea journey had crossed tropical waters. We had left Holland in June, and had anchored in South Hampton ( or was it Portsmouth?) to pick up English migrants who were on a different part of the ship, we had crossed the Atlantic to spend a day or so in Curacoa, through the Panama Canal, where children were not allowed off board in Panama City for fear of kidnap, on to two idyllic days in Tahiti and Papeete, then through a horrid hurricane that washed cars overboard and where i was one of about 8 people not sea sick so I was allowed up to the Captain's Bridge, to Auckland, then a day in Sydney before landing in Melbourne. We arrived towards evening time and it was freezing- we were bused to Spencer Street Station ( now Southern Cross) in all it's glorious windiness of how it used to be and then onto the night train for Albury with all the other non-english speaking migrants. The English migrants were allowed to stay in Melbourne and  we were sent to Bonegilla in order to learn English and acquire the Australian way of life We arrived in Albury at midnight and were then  put on buses for Bonegilla (called Bone- gilla by locals  but called Bonnegilla by every migrant I have ever known). Remember it was dark, and we had no idea where we were going, but we had emigrated for a brighter future.

We arrived in Bonegilla well after midnight and because we were a family, we were allocated a two room unit in the old army barracks. I remember the grey prickly army blankets that was our bedding and it was bitterly cold with no visible form of heating that I can recall ( i think my parents did get a  bar heater from the office the next day) It seemed dismal, like we had come  to the end of the world and were in a locked compound confined to army barrracks ( we had lived on a lovely old farm in the Netherlands , that always had extra people staying because we had so much space). We must have slept and I can remember waking to the peculiar warbles of magpies, a sound that is very very Australian, there is nothing like it on earth.We were shocked that we seemed to be in a camp that consisted of galvanised iron barracks, surrounded by high fencing and barbed wire- the food was another matter, barely edible.Many nationalities were in Bonegilla and some had been there for years. My father got the first job out of there at a large farm called North Yathong  station  between Narrandera and Jerilderie. Our furniture was still in transit and we were allocated an old cottage.  The owners wife had made a lovely attempt to welcome us by leaving half a sheep in a washing basket  on the kitchen table ( we had never eaten sheep) and basic groceries in another basket including Vegemite( vegemite is an inconic Australian sandwich spread, inedible to most but you do get a taste for it, and now I make sure I always have some in my travel kit). She tried and she was generous- and so started my life in Australia.


Roberta Warshaw said...

Now that's an interesting journey!

Flossy PatchedBritches said...

From seeing & hearing I have always thought Bonnegilla - in many ways not so 'bonne' I believe. My husband arrived as a 6 year old in 1966 to Smithfield SA. He & his family have much to tell about this experience! You may be intersted to know that his first memory of arriving in Australia was waking up to the sound of magpies on day 2 of his new life.