Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party, 1975-1979, by Judy Chicago
Image from the artist's website -
Please visit the original website for further information

Four or five weeks ago we started a new unit at art school with a new teacher who introduced us to the work of Feminist Artist Judy Chicago and her major piece, The Dinner Party. Ever since that day I have been obsessed with this concept. Briefly, Chicago began her art career in time for the Second Feminist Wave. She knew she had to do something about women being wiped out of history, with the history books barely mentioning their contribution to society and brushing over their achievements. Chicago came up with the concept of presenting a dinner party for 39 women from history, a place setting for each one, representing each one. She began in prehistory and selected women up to the present day (1970s). Furthermore, inside the triangular table setting is a porcelain tiled floor with the names of 999 more women who contributed throughout history. Please read Chicago's website to get the full detail on this groundbreaking piece.
Having admired her work, let me say I do not agree with some of Chicago's quotes. I'm not sure I would agree with her on many things. However, The Dinner Party is a fantastic concept and sends a huge message to the world.
I've been obsessed with it though, and I've been obsessed because I feel it's time to have another Dinner Party. We are now in the Third Feminist Wave. We need a new message. I don't think the second wave was all that successful, but it did break some very hard ground. We need to keep pushing for women to be released from slavery - and believe me, we are still enslaved. I don't want women to rule over men, I want equality in all ways.
So - I would like to create my own dinner party - Dinner with the Goddesses. It will be a 21st century message to 21st century women, taking up the fight that Chicago and so many other women throughout time have dared to fight. Last night the design for my first dinner plate came to me in a dream. I know I need to do this. It will be a huge project, but I'll share it with you along the way, and hope you want to come on the journey with me.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bernina and Art U Wear 2012

The other day I received my Art U Wear 2012 competition outfit back in the mail. I was a finalist, but the outfit was not chosen to tour Australia at the Craft Fairs. That's okay - I realise it was too difficult to put on and off the mannequin. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a few goodies tucked in with my piece - the artist statement that would have been displayed at the Sydney Craft Fair, a jar of Bernina lollies, a Bernina pen and a pad with a handwritten note. That was such a lovely touch. A printed slip would have been a let-down. I applaud Bernina for the way they conducted this competition, that they phoned in person to let me know my outfit had arrived safely, phoned to say it was being posted back and to keep an eye out for it, and then added that final personal touch by handwriting a message. Well done Bernina. I'll be entering next year if I can!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cat's quilt from "The Amelia Challenge Quilt"

Here is the finished quilt top of Cat's quilt that she made in The Amelia Challenge Quilt. Those of you who have read the book will know she was inspired by the tessellated tile floor in the arts building at Melbourne University. This top has been pieced using the English paper-piecing method in order to maintain full fabric pieces for all the elements i.e. I didn't want any joins in pale grey fabric. The quilt is not particularly large at 43" square and is intended as a wall hanging. Every piece is directional, except for the border.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Laurel Birch Xmas Quilt

Not the best photo but here it is, finished at last. I bought the fabrics at the very first Australasian Quilt Convention (how many years ago is that?). They were in 10" strips but after I washed them I only had 9.5" of usable fabric. I saw this pattern and knew it was perfect for these fabrics and had it sewn in no time - then it sat waiting to be quilted. One of my school mates, Kay Hocking quilted it for me recently and did a terrific job. I then bound it with the remnants of fabric, colours on two sides and white on the other two, just like the blocks. I originally meant to put the colour binding on the opposite sides from the blocks. It would have looked better that way and if I was a truly dedicated woman, I'd take off the binding and do it again. But I've moved onto the next thing already...

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Open House Melbourne

Last Saturday Melbourne hosted a terrific event called Open House Melbourne. 100 buildings in and around the city were open for the public to explore free of charge. Some of them hosted behind the scenes tours that required a ticket via a ballot system. We would have liked to see Federation Square behind the scenes but missed out on the ballot.
We saw 5 fantastic places - Melbourne Council Chambers, Scots Church and Hall, St Michael's Church, Myer Mural Hall and inside the gatehouse, Northside, at the Melbourne General Cemetery plus a short cemetery tour. It was all wonderful, despite the cold and the rain.
 Scots Church Hall
 St Michael's Church
 Myer Mural Hall
Melbourne General Cemetery
And YES! I did find quilt inspiration at the Melbourne General Cemetery ...