Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Australasian Quilt Convention 2013: Tidbits

I still have some photos from Australia that I haven’t shared with you. Here are some tidbits; enjoy!

I absolutely loved the Australian currency, which is so colorful and intricate! Their coins are beautiful, too, and feature many native animals, including emu, platypus, kangaroo, echidna, and more.

Can’t remember where in Melbourne I took this shot, but don't you love this painted post?

An Australian mailbox. This may be an old style; I love it!

The light was wonderful on these flowers. Not sure what they are. 

This is the main entrance to the show. Every day, mobs of people gathered in this space waiting to get in to the exhibits and vendors.


These are the main front doors to the Royal Exhibition building. They must have been 20 feet tall or more. Absolutely stunning.

Here are the two people largely responsible for putting together the show: Gary and Judy Newman of Expertise Events. Always professional, always smiling, always helpful. An all-round class act. Many thanks to both of you!

I took about a million photos of the Royal Exhibition Building. I was simply in love with it. Here’s  the beautiful domed ceiling:

Old meets new – this shot shows the Royal Exhibition Building reflected and fragmented in the windows of the ultra-modern Melbourne Museum:

Two hundred for tea! This is a shot of the teacups lined up for morning tea and coffee, which was offered to students and teachers for free – along with biscuits (cookies) in the morning and afternoon. Lovely!

From the second floor, where the classrooms were, we had a great view of the exhibition and vendor space below:

The food was delectable. Especially the desserts!


Students got in early on Thursday and Friday so that they could take advantage of less crowded shopping, as they had fewer hours on the floor. Here are students purchasing goods from Cecile Whatman’s booth, Unique Stitching. Cecile carries a wide variety of products for art quilting and mixed media.

Brenda McCullough, Promotional Co-Ordinator - Home Sewing Machines at Brother International Australia, and her staff were an invaluable help in my thread sketching classroom, which was supplied with Brother Innovis 210 machines. I was so impressed with their machines and their customer service. Thanks, Brenda!

Australian fabric and pattern designer Leesa Chandler had a booth for her store, Chandlers Cottage, at the Convention. She has designed several fabric collections for  RJR Fabrics (Under the Australian Sun, Under the Australian Sun 2, and Under the Australian Sun - Classic Collection). All feature native Australian flowers:

One of my students, Debbie Cox, generously brought me a yard as a souvenir, and told me the names of all of the flowers.

Suzanne Gummow (wearing a white shirt, at the back of the photo) leads a group through the SAlt exhibition. SAlt stands for South Australian living textiles.


SAlt is a group of five fiber artists – Francie Mewet, Suzanne Gummow, Julie Haddrick, Sarah Bell Smith, and Judi Bushby – the exhibition showed their work in groupings. It was very fun to see how each artist interpreted the theme. There was some very impressive work in this exhibition. 

The exhibition hall was a fabulous place to exhibit quilts, with wonderful natural lighting, and a wonderful airy, spacious feeling.

 A view of the vendor area from the second floor (where my classroom was):

The floor was busy! Saturday was probably the most crowded day.

Judy Coates Perez was demonstrating her techniques in a booth, when she wasn’t teaching. If you want to see more photos of Melbourne and AQC, check out her blog!

Reece Scannell makes and sells unique fabrics, including shot cottons, with very high thread count (about 66 threads per square inch), that have a wonderful sheen and hand. I absolutely loved them, and purchased a printed panel featuring Australian native plants, and a skirt with panels of the same fabric.

This is Brenda Gael Smith (below), a fiber artist who was at AQC to teach and promote the Twelve by Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge. If you don’t know about this project by the “Twelves,” you are missing something really fun!

Two of the Twelves, Brenda and Kirsten Duncan (Kirsten is shown below, standing next to Brenda), give a tour of the exhibition:

I’ll have one more post, coming soon, that will include photos of some of my students with their work.

Bigeye Tuna

The latest fish for my new piece, “We All Swim Together,” is a Bigeye Tuna. It is a beautiful and very large fish. On my piece, it is about 21" long; in real life, it can be more than 8 feet long!

Bigeye Tuna
Latin Name:
Thunnus obesus
Found worldwide in open waters of temperate and tropical oceans.
Depth: usually above 1650 feet
98" and 400 pounds
The Bigeye can live up to 12 years; the average is 7-8 years. They are one of the species that is very threatened by overfishing, and are also susceptible to purse seine fishing by man-made fish aggregation devices such as open ocean buoys. About half of the Bigeye caught are captured in this way. Many juvenile fish are caught in these devices before they reach breeding age, adding to the problem. Greenpeace International added the Bigeye to its seafood red list in 2010.
The U.S. and some island nations have had treaties regulating and setting fishing quotas on bigeye.

In Hawaii, the Bigeye is one of two species (the other is Yellowfin Tuna) known as ‘ahi. They are prized in Asia for sashimi. 

Bigeye tuna sometimes have high levels of mercury, making them unsafe to eat. Pregnant women are warned not to consume too much tuna for this reason.