There are two major displays of award winning quilts at the Australian Quilt Convention each year. One is the ‘Rajah Award’. This is named after the historical quilt, The Rajah Quilt, which was made by female convicts on the ship ‘Rajah’, as they were transported from England to Van Dieman’s Land (now called Tasmania), in 1841. Follow the link to learn more about the significance of this appliquéd coverlet, for it’s relevance to presenting the award, in recognition of the ‘outstanding contribution to quilting in Australia’.
‘Rajah Quilt’ courtesy of National Gallery of Australia.
The displayed works of the previous year’s award winner are always a delight to behold. Michele Hill, the winner of the 2014 Rajah Award, is internationally famous for her William Morris designs and love of appliqué. These are just a few from her extensive body of work that were on display.
‘William De Morgan Sampler’ by Michele Hill.
‘Woven Morris Glows Again’ by Michele Hill.
‘Thorngrove Manor Quilt’ by Michele Hill.
Then we come to the ‘Best of Australia” quilts. The ‘Best of Show’ quilts from the previous years’ major exhibition held by each State and Territory Guild, is displayed and judged for the ‘Best of Australia’ award. It must be a difficult task in deciding this award, as each quilt is both beautiful to behold and exquisitely constructed, as well as being so technically different.
I was fortunate to be on ‘Quilt Angel’ white glove duty, when one of the quilt makers visited her quilt with her daughter. Linda White‘s (Victorian entry), original design of Elenor Jean‘, ‘comprises approximately 22,500 1/4″ hexagons! While I have the utmost admiration for this Herculean task, there is no way I would ever contemplate even thinking about attempting such small hexagons. Little did we know that 24 hours after this photo was taken, it was announced as the winning quilt – well deserved for endurance alone!
‘Elenor Jean’ by Linda White, winner of ‘Best of Australia 2015’.
Rose Lewis‘s (Australian Capital Territory entry) quilt was amazingly heavy to lift. The extensive trapunto brought to life the three dimensional trees, and the dense tiny quilting was appreciated more by seeing it from the back. Viewers had to peer closely to see the hidden creatures cleverly stitched in amongst the flowers and leaves.
‘Through the Garden Gate’ by Rose Lewis.
The hand quilting of Janet Treen‘s red and green quilt (New South Wales entry), was magnificant. I enjoy hand quilting with a 12 wt Aurafil thread and a utility stitch. I think that’s where I’ll stay – stab stitching I can do it much faster, than when I have a go at the ‘rocking method’ most likely used to get those amazingly tiny uniform stitches on this quilt.
‘Coxcomb and Currants’ by Janet Treen.
The bright colours of Kaffe Fasset fabrics makes Joanne Johnson’s (Queensland entry), medallion appliqué a happy modern quilt. The eye travels around the quilt taking in the many fabrics used in the borders and comes to rest on the delightful Baltimore style vase of flowers.
‘Summer Rhapsody’ by Joanne Johnson
With 10.000 1″ squares hand pieced, no wonder Melody Symes (Western Australia entry), named her work ‘Perseverance’. The unusual quilting method subtly complimented the quilt. A single embroidery ‘fly stitch’ in each square – so that makes 10.000 embroidery stitches as well! – kept the look and feel of the top without it being overtaken by lines of quilting.
‘Perseverance’ by Melody Symes
Close up of the embroidery ‘fly stitch’ used for quilting ‘Perseverance’ by Melody Symes
A work of art using multiple shiny and metallic threads over acrylic painted fabric, by Sue Domeney (Tasmanian entry) certainly made the connection to New Year’s Eve fireworks high in the sky over a city just near you.
‘Heavens Above’ by Sue Domeney.
Elizabeth McCallum (Northern territory entry), made clever use of a large print fabric as broderie perse over tea dyed fabric, for the ‘Chinese Coins for Tigers’. The browns and reds are so redolent of a camouflaged tiger.
‘Chinese Coins for Tigers’ by Elizabeth McCallum.
This was a stunner! The back looked equally as good, if not better as the backing fabric was like a pale blue watercolour. Rachelle Denneny’s (South Australian entry) free motion machine quilting, using two different coloured threads and trapunto, gave the pattern an elegant lofty lift. Many viewers stood almost stunned at the amount perfect quilting repeated for every block.
‘A Touch of Blue’ by Rachelle Denneny.
Close up of the free motion quilting by Rachelle Denenny in her ‘Touch of Blue’ quilt.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of the ‘luminary quilters’ of the Australian Quilt Convention for 2015.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share the works of our amazing quilters.