Textile artwork “Australia’s Bouquet”

Australia's Bouquet Textile art by Yvonne Chapman-Brooks

Making a quilt to represent Australia

This quilt was made for the Australian Quilt Challenge, theme was Made in Australia, Flora and Fauna, talk about right up my street! Animals and free motion sewing, what more could I ask for. 

I had several ideas for this one but the main one was Where do I start, what do I leave out and what do I put in? so many choices so I had to narrow it down somehow, so I settled on the fauna and flora emblems for each state of Australia. Several hours of research for the right image lead to some fantastic images, which were drawn, a pattern made using the acetate pattern Trace and Place method I have used in my previous quilts, then material resourcing. 

If I can, I like to use my own hand dyed fabrics, that way I can create colours to suit the project.  The thread is the most important thing as the thread painting, to me, is what the quilt is all about. It is also the most time consuming. 

I use a large selection of machine embroidery threads, as the lustre and colours are fabulous in the final piece, I also use cottons and even really cheap threads, Its all about the colour and texture.  


As for the previous Quilts I have shown on here, True Blue Mates, and Saving Magic the construction is the same, pieces of fabric placed onto calico and bonded with Vliesofix, a heat bonded webbing,  then thread painted in the direction of the fur, this makes a realistic finished image. This is the cut out, and attached or overlaid onto other pieces to form a small panel. easier to work with, and finally these panels are sewn and overlaid together. Any extra bulk on the back where panels have overlaid is cut away to make the quilt easier to manage. 

Composition is important

Now that I had all the animals and birds in place I can see where I need to full in the spaces. Luckily I need Golden Wattle, gum flowers plus kangaroo paws  and Pink Health, so I can fill in these gaps with those. It takes quite a lot of fiddling and moving the individual images to create the finished look, I photograph them and look at the overall aesthetic shape, is it balanced,  how does the eye work around the final composition? which way the images face, inwards or out, taking your eye to other pieces, size, shape, colour. At this point I still didn’t know what I was going to end up with, I decided to make the whole thing look like a bouquet for the viewer, so I had to build symmetry.  

Finishing the Quilt

I thought about several different colours for the background, Black, Dark Blue, Green, even Aboriginal print fabric, but the patterned fabric were way too busy and detracted form the final image, therefore it was a toss up between black and deep green. I settled for black making the colours really POP! It was quilted with footprints of the emus, Kangaroos and wombat. 

Flora and Fauna depicted

Western Australia:  Black Swan, Numbat, Kangaroo Paw

South Australia: Hairy nosed wombat, Magpie (Pippin Strike) Sturts Desert Pea

Australian Capital Territory: Royal Bluebell, (No animal emblem) Gang-Gang Cockatoo

 New South Wales: Waratah, Platypus, Kookaburra

Victoria: Pink Heath, Leadbeaters possum, Helmeted yellow Wattlebird

Tasmania: Blue Gum, Tasmanian Devil, Yellow wattlebird

Northern Territory: Wedge tailed Eagle, Kangaroo, Sturts Desert Rose

Queensland: Brolga, Cooktown Orchid, Koala

Additions Emu and Golden wattle from the Australian Coat of arms. 

The quilt was selected to be judged at the Australian Quilt Challenge in Melbourne in 2017, and went on tour around Australia, and on display on Mexico, representing Australia. It went to the Mancuso World if Quilts in New Hampshire USA for 2018, the judges comment was that “the thread painting was an excellent example but perhaps a different colour for the black background”.

This quilt took 10 months to make.