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Monday, 20 June 2016

Last Lands Conquered

My latest quilt project is about how the world was conquered. Many of the fabrics were collected from scraps, repurposed fabrics (eg curtains), used clothing and gifts from friends. The design of the quilt top is broadly based on a pattern I found on the web (Lantern Bloom by Fons and Porter). As I was using fabric scraps, I adapted the pattern to suit by scrap sizes, and added sashing to make it bigger. 


The fabrics were chosen with a specific story in mind: the race to conquer the last lands on Earth. 

The South Pacific's colours and patterns were waiting to be discovered.
The whole world had been discovered...
... and all the oceans of the Earth had been sailed...
... in the company of the animals of the sea and the land...
... with the knowledge gained from clocks and stars, using the sun and the moon as guides on those very long journeys.
The last great land mass to be discovered - New Zealand - was finally colonised in 1840 by the British (the French would have got it if the Brits hadn't got there when they did), and it slowly began to be anglified and eventually europeanised.

Not everyone was interested in the Far East - modern Greece had just come into being and was a popular stop on young men's Grand Tour, notably Lord Byron's, who died fighting for Greece's liberation. Greece's beauty and her monuments became famous to the point that some visitors - like Thomas Bruce, aka the Earl of Elgin - set their sights on taking some with them when they left. 

And in this way, the last undisocvered lands were conquered and pillaged. 

A lot of discovering was going on in the early 1800s. And in 2016, we are still talking about what happened 200 or so years ago, and still arguing about whether it was right or wrong. Whichever it was, one thing we can say is that it was the way of the world. What had to happen did happen. Many things that are happening today continue to happen even though they are not desirable. Time and tide wait for no man.

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