Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Birdsville Quilt mini-landscapes

Today I have been working on a couple of cars which I am making in 3-dimensional applique so that I can attach these to the background landscape of the Birdsville quilt that I am making for my DH (dear husband) and I. (I am making almost a duplicate for friends of ours.) As I am not quite finished the cars, I thought that I would post pictures of the mini-landscapes, to be superimposed on the background landscape.

This first block has been hand-appliqued (all in blanket stitch) and was free-hand drawn by me from a photograph of the billabong (lake/waterway) that is right next to the very small isolated town of Birdsville, on the edge of the Simpson Desert in far, far south-west Queensland, Australia. The rains had come, so the bush is lush and green. The birds are brolgas, which are native Australian birds.

The block above shows one of the Royal Flying Doctor aeroplanes on the airstrip in Birdsville. The Flying Doctor ( provides both regular health clinics to towns and properties in outback Australia and also emergency services and evacuation of patients in need of treatment and is a service necessary to the survival of many in the outback. The Flying Doctor evacuated my husband several times when he developed complications from leg surgery and needed to be flown thousands of kilometres for emergency surgery.

As I mentioned earlier, the town of Birdsville is on the very edge of the Simpson Desert, some 2 000 km from Brisbane on the eastern coast of Australia. Pictured above is a machine-appliqued block depicting one of the many sand-dunes in the Simpson Desert with its spinifex and deep red sand.

This last landscape that I am posting today (there are two more landscapes to complete the mini-landscapes) shows the very famous Birdsville races. People come from all over Australia (and from other countries) to Birdsville for the Birdsville races which are held on the first week-end in September each year.

The town's population swells from 100 to about 5 000 people in one week! People camp in the campground, in tent cities and those who fly in tend to sleep under their aircraft in tents or swags (mattresses rolled up in a canvas).

My love of Birdsville stems from the 2 1/2 years that DH and I lived out there back in 1993 -1995 when I was the Principal in the little one-teacher primary (elementary) school out there. There is a saying that once you cross the Diamantina (River) that you will always come back and that we did, back in 1998 when DH and I flew back for the centenary of the school. We were welcomed back with open arms and it felt like we had never left! It was so lovely to catch up with old friends and to see just how much my former students had grown.


Delia said...

Bern these look great and I am glad you are bloging again.

Janet Hartje said...

These are wonderful! I wish I could see them up close. Can't wait to see the whole quilt. Janet

SandyQuilts said...

WOW they're wonderful. Thanks for sharing your talent. I clicked on the photo but they didn't enlarge ... I wanted a closer look. Or maybe could you post a larger photo?

Shauna said...

Hi Bern, you are so very talented. I love your blog and the stories you have told behind your quilts. At the Canberra quilt and craft fair this year (or last, I can't remember) their theme was Australiana and may have even been about the outback and the RFS. I was amazed at how people could think up their ideas for quilts, let alone create them. Good job!

Shauna from pNQ

Shirley said...

I have always wanted to see Western Australia - we have gotten as far north as Brisbane and Adelaide but I have a dream about going further west and north. We were in Oz 4 years ago and I loved it. We also lived for
3 years in New Zealand and I loved it there too. Shirley from Alberta, Canada.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bern, your quilts are wonderful. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures of them. Tracy (a feloow patchNquilter)

Alaska linda said...

What beautiful work. It's great seeing pictures of your and Barry.