Friday, August 6, 2010

Australian Native Color

A week ago I returned from a fabulous teaching tour in Australia. I was forewarned that it would be winter when I arrived on the other side of the world. But to my delight it was not the same winter we have at home. I laughed every time someone complained about the "cold". As you can see from these photos it was very moderate and pleasant; flowers still bloomed and the birds were enthusiastic.
Every afternoon reminded me of our early autumn... the temperature, the slant of the light, the long shadows and the hint of crispness in the air. It was lovely!

Above is a photo of my first teaching location, at Be Creative by the Sea Symposium in Coffs Harbour on the Tasman Sea in New South Wales. So most mornings began with a walk on the beach or exploring the residential neighborhoods near the resort. Below are two wonderful signs on the hotel property at the beginning of their little nature walk.

The wild life was quite exotic to this Midwestern girl. All the birds were twice as big and twice as loud as the ones at home. On my first evening I spied a huge bat flying right outside the window and hanging in a palm tree! This was not a puny little bat from Illinois, but a BIG bat just like the vampire movies! It was thrilling. My host, who lives in Coffs Harbour all year, says that in the summer there would be hundreds of them in the air!!

On my days off I was always treated to a local tour and gardens were always on my list of places to visit. The flora of Australia is unbelievable and just as amazing as the critters. Most of my classes were about translating and abstracting designs from nature, so the class projects often portrayed native Australian plants. This was a nice way for me to learn more about the flowers, too.

Just scroll through the photos and you will see a small sampling of the natural wonders that I enjoyed during my visit. I had plans to post my pictures while I was there, but the Internet, especially WiFi is often expensive and difficult to find. But it was kind of nice to be excused from everyday tasks and to take advantage of this incredible sensory experience.

These spiky trees were one of my favorite discoveries! It is called a Floss Silk Tree and is a native of South America. The thorns are the size of a Hershey's Kiss or larger!! Delightfully dangerous!

I see a quilt or new textile design in every photo and I am anxious to get into my studio and let the Australian inspiration take over. I will also be thinking about the many wonderful men and women who are new friends on the other side of the earth. Who could dream that quilting would led to such an extraordinary journey! 


Melissa P said...

Amazing! I know this will all be distilled into some incredible art and design. And I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your pics.... Oz is indeed very different from the Midwest. I look forward to any fabric you design with this experiance as the jump off point.... let's go jump.

Diane J. Evans said...

Amazing photos, Jane -- you have a wonderful eye for capturing the essence of nature's wonders in a photo. And aren't they all inspirational!


Lisa said...

Beautiful! Can't wait to see what these inspire you to do!

Letterpress said...

When I first moved to Riverside, I explored the Botanic Gardens every week. The Floss Silk Tree is one of my favorites. UCR (our university here in town) has quite an extensive collection of foreign flora, as we have a milder climate and can grow lots of different species. Like the others that have written comments, I look forward to seeing what you distill down into design.

Balwearie said...

Gorgeous photos -- I can't wait to see what you design with all this inspiration!

Stephanie Newman said...

Jane, you experienced one of Australia's best places for winter...further inland and further south gets much, much colder!
Your photos look lovely and I am glad you enjoyed your teaching trip and the quilters here Down I wonder how long it will be until you release a fabric range based on your Australian experiences? LOL! Fingers crossed.
From one of your students from AQC,last year.

camcas said...

Loved seeing that spiky tree you photographed on our walk thru Bellingen-can't wait to see what you do with that.
It was lovely to meet you in Coffs Harbour.
Did the photo of that yellow and black spider come out?

Fiona McClintock said...

Lovely photos Jane. It was so nice to be able to spend time with you in Coffs Harbour, I really learned a lot.