What a great event this is.
Can you think of a better venue that this?
Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, built for the World's Trade Fair of 1890. I love the sweet little cherubs that dance around inside the fountain. The gardens are old but of course are maintained and have some contemporary plants and one corner has a little miniature lake/ pond.
I think this is a slice of Europe right here in Australia on a scale so grand, I know of few other buildings that compare in this country.
I enjoyed a free day to see the quilts- art overload? Naturally I had to contribute to the economic health of the quilting industry, finding some great tools and fabrics, and a couple of art quilt books I had eyed off earlier. Spent a day working on the Express Publications stand on Sunday. We had one of the best locations too, right underneath the magnificent dome, not far from the cafes.
I enjoyed seeing the sea of colour around our stand and catching up with the good people from Bernina Australia who were right next to us.
Readers of AP&Q and Patchwork and Stitching magazines, thank you for introducing yourself, I really enjoyed meeting you all and finding out what you have enjoyed and would like to see in future.
Don't forget, you can email your questions for the Q and A article each month you can find in the middle of the magazine. Email them to Elaine with the contact details in the magazine and she will forward them on to me for answering! I love curly questions and helping solve problems that quilters experience in their projects.
The quilts were interesting with a real mix of work, something for everyone. Especially I enjoyed the Beneath the Southern Skies travelling exhibit and the Cotton Poem 30th Anniversary exhibition from the Japanese ladies who were invited to display their work. The Best of the Best exhibition and AP&Q &AQC challenge never fail to deliver. I love seeing the way quilter interpreted the theme "What the world needs now". Because of prepping our house for sale and the big move at the end of last year I was unable to enter this year- simply not enough hours in the day and difficult to work when you are ripping apart your home/ preparing to move. I have had work juried into previous years exhibitions there though and do intend to submit work in future for consideration.
I also had fun in Melbourne before and after AQC-enjoying finding Tessuti tucked up in Flinders Lane. On its way to me right now via post as they were temporarily out of stock, is the New York Cape pattern which I plan to make in a gorgeous purple wool boucle and trim with black wool braid and buttons. Some denim was sourced also for the workshop Jean-ius which I am enrolled in at the moment with Kenneth King online. I needed supplies for his class which were easily sourced at Tessuti. The store has a wonderful spacious light feel to it, with beautiful fabrics. Around the corner I lunched in a little Art Deco era arcade and this was next to my table on the floor:
I stayed in a hotel about 9 minutes walk to the gardens that has this awesome swimming pool in the middle of it!
It matters not where you are in Melbourne, there is art somewhere to see. Across the road from Carlton Gardens, which should appeal to all Hexie loving quilters, the Primary school looks like this:
I visited on the way out, Melbourne Museum and found some interesting things, including two quilts and a nice collection of vintage sewing machines that were used in a glove manufacturing business in Melbourne. Loads of dinosaur, fossils, geological display items and of course a wonderful collection of animals, including Phar Lap.
He was magnificent. Tucked up in the display area was a reproduced section of Little Lon from the 1860's, notorious for all sorts of people with seedy lifestyles along with housing less financially fortunate families, just as they were in Melbourne not far from where I was staying a few streets away.
Things have changed in a few centuries, and whilst parts are undeniably still a little seedy, the standard of accommodation has vastly improved.
I loved seeing how a poor family lived along side another family of considerably higher means. Poor families had blankets on their beds whilst the richer managed tapestries and quilts.
Poorer family's kitchen and living area:
How the somewhat richer lived:
I also loved the painted floor with patchwork design - wouldn't this make a lovely quilt?
You can certainly feel the history in the rooms, complete with cross stitched samplers and tapestries...
and a work basket with fine embroidery sitting on a velour parlour sofa of sorts.
Letters or diary excerpts from the time were audio recorded that brought the display to life. It was interesting to walk the narrow cobble streets in behind the display, and see the air conditioning in the ceiling furnished by holes in the roof and walls. This is the same photo taken earlier only with flash so a lot of stains and holes are more clearly visible.
There is a gorgeous Broiderie Perse quilt on display made by Mary Bergin in 1843 made in Queens County, Ireland.
She emigrated to Australia bringing her quilt with her. Her father was in the drapery business which explains the heavier curtaining fabric used in her quilt. There was once a longer fringe applied to the edge of the quilt but was apparently removed by one of its owners throughout history. There is a nice amount of hand embroidery including her name and date on this quilt. It was a nice surprise as I didn't realise the museum would have any quilts. It is essentially a natural history museum but also has sections to display contemporary exhibitions and exhibits of indigenous art. For lovers of textiles it offers a few rather nice surprises including a great display of vintage sewing machines. And this lovely little girl's lacy dress from 1840. Once I started hunting I kept finding other textile treasures such as doilies,knitting, crochet, tray clothes...
There was a glove factory in Melbourne which offered a lot of employment to locals and trained girls in the skills of sewing for that industry.
On the top right corner that's a serpentine Jones machine. Wonderfully shaped!
At this point, because I was also photographing things my children would be interested in to show them, my camera battery ran flat and so additional photos were snapped on my iphone. Must figure out how to transfer them for blogging...
You can listen to Aussie world famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba's recordings on an old gramophone, and see some of her stage costume accessories, from Faust, her chatelaine of needlework accessories. I'm sure we all wouldn't mind one of those in our sewing kit!!
That's her rosary as used in the production as well.
Her real name was Helen Porter Mitchell.
I had two hours and had plenty left to see I had missed.
Always I come away inspired after AQC and not
only by the quilts but by the buildings and art in Melbourne. I was
even able to squeeze in having dinner with my cousin and brother in law,
who now live in Melbourne. Back home I am at work again on a class
sample and also a garment (just for fun). Barely unpacked, I fly out to Launceston Tasmania at the
end of the month, for the Quilt and Craft Fair there. Hope to catch up
with my Tassie friends, quilters and visitors!