Beginning in 2021 with support from the NSW Government through CreateNSW, I developed a series of works for ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ curated by Dr Fiona Davies and presented by Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains at Cementa22 in Kandos. Collectively titled Emergency Blankets, these quilts were made from recycled materials—hessian sacking and wool suits from my late grandfather’s estate and leftover felt from my art practice—and the designs were based on traditional Australian waggas. All three quilts were backed with Mylar thermal blankets and bound with felt. The works highlighted the importance of care as a response to crisis, whether natural disasters, economic hardship, or mental illness. During this development process I made a number of visits to Kandos to meet with members of Nannas Haberdashery, a local charity, and to spend time with the Kandos & Rylstone craft group. These visits impressed upon me the power and importance of care, in all its manifestations, and led to the development of a new performance peiece, Emergency Blankets (Appliqué). During ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ I sat in the exhibition space and sewed crosses onto a wool air force blanket that had belonged to my grandfather. The crosses were all cut out of scraps leftover from the quilting process. While I was sewing I chatted with audience members evoking the supportive environment of the craft group.
Photography: 1-2 Ian Hobbs and 3-4 Alex Gooding
Emergency Blankets is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.