"Safe as Houses" Crazy Quilt 2004

I live in Canberra Australia in one of the suburbs that was hit by the firestorm on January 18 2003. This was a small crazy quilt I made in response to the fires.

The quilt is divided into 4 strips. Starting left to right, the first represents the day of the fires, the second is the debris of houses the day after. This section was worked from a photograph that I took of our next door neighbours shed floor. In the weeks afterwards we had a false autumn as stressed trees dropped their leaves this is the third section.The last section represents the mounds of wood chip produced as what was left of the burnt forest was felled. There are 4 crosses in the quilt and four panels as 4 people died a horrible death, nearly 500 houses were lost, 2000 gardens were lost, a forest with its wild life was lost and Canberra was changed forever.

Stitches are chaotic in the early strips as life was just that, and as the clean up progressed the stitches become more controlled falling into an expected pattern as life gradually returned to normal.

There are a few images online taken during that period. There was a painful exquisite beauty in some of the textures. Sometimes pain is not what was lost, but what remains. For those who are unaware of the fires here is some eye witness accounts of the day and a news report just afterwards

Measuring 70cm x 70cm (27 x 27 inches) the wall quilt is titled "Safe as Houses" because in the face of nature we are not. It was completed in 2004.