Emergency Blankets: Work-In-Progress Part 4

This is the fourth post in a series documenting the creation of my new work Emergency Blankets for the MAPBM event ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ (curated by Dr Fiona Davies) as part of Cementa22. ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ is supported by Festivals Australia and NAB and Emergency Blankets is additionally supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

In the first post I shared the process involved in creating test quilts for the first emergency blanket. In the second post I discussed the creation of the wagga blanket and some problems we encountered. In the third post I provided some insight into the creation of the second emergency blanket. In this installment I will report on the progress made during my recent stay at Cloudbough Art Residency in Kandos.

My partner and I recently travelled up to Kandos with our son to stay at the beautiful Cloudbough Art Residency run by Gabrielle Bates. We were joined during the residency by my Mum and Dad. Before we left, my partner and I each took a rapid antigen test to make sure we were Covid negative. On the way to Kandos we stopped to pick up some black 4ply crochet thread. Mum and I planned to use the crochet thread to experiment with a tying technique that we are considering using for the second Emergency Blanket. This tying technique is an alternative method for joining the layers of a quilt or wagga together.

At Cloudbough, Mum and I got started on a test quilt for the second Emergency Blanket using leftover material, some wadding to give it a little more body, and some leftover mylar from the previous test quilts. Before we could tie the layers together we had to iron out the creases and flatten the seams. Then we had to spray the layers with basting spray so that it would stick together while we were tying.

After we had sewn the top piece of the test quilt together we did some tying tests on some scrap fabric and it turned out the leftover mylar would not do. When we pulled the ties tight the mylar simply tore which defeats the purpose of tying. Luckily I had brought some of the new mylar as well, which worked much better. Another problem was that the needles we had brought were too blunt. Fortunately we were able to buy some more appropriate needles and some quilting wax from Nannas Haberdashery which helped a great deal.

After the successful test we proceeded to tie the test quilt (now with newer mylar backing) and then bound it with black felt.

During this process I also started to experiment with designs for the third Emergency Blanket. This one will be made from leftover felt from previous art projects. At the moment the design won’t be based on any traditional quilting patterns, but will loosely mirror the haphazard layout of so-called ‘domestic waggas’. We experimented with a few different faggoting stitches and settled on one that we will use for the next Emergency Blanket.

The next step in the process is to finish the second Emergency Blanket, applying what we learned through making the test quilt. After that I will move forward with the third Emergency Blanket. As always these activities will be covered in future installments so stay tuned!

Emergency Blankets is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.