John Flynn Quilt
Steve Irwin Quilt
Brisbane from the River
We woke up at 4:30 this morning, feeling rested and ready to go again. We got ready at a leisurely pace and then went downstairs for our meal…..a wonderful continental breakfast of meats, cheeses, breads and fruit.
After breakfast, Michael walked down the river a little way and caught the “City-Cat” ferry to the University of Queensland. These boats navigate the Brisbane River and provide a wonderful opportunity to see the city from the water. The trip takes about 30 minutes. He then spent the day visiting with professors, students and post-docs from around the world. As usual, he came home exhausted, but exhilarated from the experience.
I walked into downtown Brisbane, across the Victoria Bridge and met with my friend, Marilyn Wray. Marilyn and her husband and family were friends of ours from Canberra days. She knew that I was into quilts so she suggested that we spend the day at a large Craft and Quilt Show that was going on in the Brisbane Convention Center. When we first entered the building, I was hit in the face with the song “White Lightning” and a large group of men and women dancing along to the music. This was the “entertainment” for those waiting in line to get in!!! Marilyn had already purchased our “VIP” tickets, so we were able to enter thru another door and avoid the long line….and the singing and dancing!!
We started out by looking at the quilt show. As usual there were some absolutely wonderful pieces, ranging from very traditional to “knock-your-socks-off” contemporary. There were two quilts honoring Steve Irwin. Both of these were done in pixilated portrait style and were made up of thousands of tiny squares of fabric. There was also a room devoted to quilts honoring John Flynn. He was an Australian Presbyterian minister and aviator who founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the world’s first air ambulance. The pieces all included representations of his planes and also the places that he flew. It was a moving exhibit.
We then moved into the vendor stall area and started shopping. Since this was a craft show and not just a quilt show, there was an amazing variety of vendors there. However, it was interesting to see the way that many of the supplies and ideas translate between the different crafts. You could easily buy things at the scrapbooking shop that would be useful in quilting and vice versa. I spent most of my time looking for Aussie fabric and came home with 7 fat quarters.
They had short demonstrations continuing throughout the day, so we decided to catch a couple of them. The first one was about using embellishments in quilts (or paper, or whatever). The speaker was really good and she did a great job of encouraging you to just play and have fun and not have a pre-conceived notion of what it was going to look like. My favorite comment that she made was “where embellishments are concerned, too much is simply TOO MUCH!!”
The second demonstration was about felting using the wet process. I had tried one small piece using this technique, but she had some wonderful suggestions that would make it much easier than MY way. I cant wait to get home a try it out now.
Afterwards, we visited the two shops that these women represented and I ended up buying some lovely dyed merino wool for felting and also some dyed silk pieces that I cant wait to play with. They also had dyed silk cocoons that I wanted to buy, but the owner told me that she was afraid that I might have trouble getting them back into the US, so I didn’t get them.
We ended the afternoon by taking a “Bernina Make-It, Take-It” class. These are really designed to show off the Bernina sewing machines, but I had a great time making a coiled fabric bowl. I had bought the book to do this about a year ago but hadn’t gotten around to trying it and it was great to be “forced” to make one. They were amazingly easy and I can wait to make some more.
I left the convention center about 3:45, and hurriedly walked the ½ mile back to the hotel. There I had 30 minutes to change clothes, pack what we needed for the evening and relax a bit. I then walked down to the ferry and caught one to the University of Queensland. It was such fun sitting at the very back of the ferry and taking photos of the changing River skyline. The trip took about 30 minutes and then I waited about 10 more for Michael to pick me up. At one point while I was standing there, I realized that there was a flock of birds flying around me and making a heck of a racket. They were backlit, so I couldn’t tell what kind they were, but it was a lot of fun to see some of the larger birds again.
We were driven to the home of Michael’s host, Cynthia Riginos and her husband, Scott, and their son, Alexander. They live in a wonderful home that sits up the side of a hill so that you are looking down toward the river. We sat on the back deck and enjoyed up close views of several large trees, including the beautiful purple blossomed Jacarandra. About 6:30 they pointed to some large “birds” that were starting to fly over the house and told us that they were large bats called Flying Foxes. At one point one of them landed in a tree next to us and they spotlighted him so that we could see him well. He wasn’t particularly happy with the light, but it was fun to see him up close. As we sat there, we also saw a possum and heard lots of Geckos calling from the roofs.
We left their house at 9:00 and took a taxi back into the city to our hotel and dropped thankfully into bed…..another great day!!