The Bernina inaugural challenge had stitchers thinking long and hard about their own personal version of a Kiwi Icon, then translating this idea into fabric. The challenge is travelling around the country and came to rest for a while at my local P & Q shop, Thimbles and Threads. Kiwi icons of all sorts were depicted on the small quilts, most of which were attractively displayed upstairs in the class room, with a few downstairs in the shop area.
Flora and fauna, and the holiday themes of beaches, baches, and caravans were displayed, as were the All Blacks. I noticed bungy jumping, sheep (we have millions), cheeky pukekos, and buzzy bees, icons all. Here is good ole Wal being chased by one of those killer pigs in the Footrot Flats comic strip.
The beautifully stitched Tuatara earned Rosemary Rush a new Bernina machine. The reptile sits on quilted pebbles, surrounded by wonderfully quilted and appliquéd fern fronds. This one would be my favourite and like all these small quilts, has to be seen up close to be appreciated.
I guess that a kiwi icon to me would have to be holidaying on our beautiful coastline. There were several quilts that I loved which depicted this sentiment. The bach was framed by embroidered pohutakawa blossoms, and the iconic Combi Van was a holiday home from home for generations of Kiwis.
Just Buzzin Around, by Susan Woolhouse features some of our famous buzzy bee toys. Who can’t remember Charles and Di’s visit to New Zealand with toddler William all those years ago when a buzzy bee was presented to the royals? Our buzzy bees gained international stardom overnight!
And what could be more kiwi than wearing a pair of jandals to the beach and feeling the warm sand slide over our toes? They may well be known as flip flops or thongs in other counties, but to a Kiwi this casual mode of footwear is known as jandals.
This is just a small selection of the quilts on display. Do go and check them out when the travelling exhibition comes to your part of New Zealand, they are all wonderful little works of art.