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Bridges- Stone to Steel by Julie Haddrick

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

Stone to steel; Sydney bridges 99 years apart JULIE HADDRICK. AUSTRALAIA

16 X 36 INCHES 40 X 90 CM

The first road bridge built on Australia’s mainland in 1833 was the Lennox’s stone horseshoe bridge and it opened up a road crossing through the Blue Mountains, to access the rest of Australia. 99 years later, a single span riveted steel bridge with concrete deck and pylons was built to enable the crossing of Sydney Harbor’s massive waterways. Bridges have played a pivotal role in the European settlement and expansion of this vast country

Without studio access my hand dyed and printed fabrics, my batiks, hundreds of coloured threads to stitch with, I chose instead to combine the readily available commercial solid cottons, with machine piecing construction techniques. How can I be creative without any of my surface design tools and my fabrics? We were living interstate and this required considerable improvisation. I decided to piece this quilt, using what was available to me; commercial dyed cotton solids, narrow bias tape and an indigenous print. Studies with Nancy Crow provided me with the confidence to tackle the designing and piecing of my bridge design.

The researching and designing of my quilts is an involved process, where I will photograph, sketch, paint and draw up a full size cartoon.

Visits to two art exhibitions inspired me to make decisions and use an image of two bridges, both of which I had visited while relocated in Sydney. I formatted the two structures with rhythmical lines and stylised motifs, in a semi abstract style.

Because of the contrasting bridge styles and method of bridge construction, I linked the bridges with a road. I worked from a full scale drawing and used the cartoon to trace a paper pattern and cut individual pattern pieces. The most enjoyable stage however, was machine quilting on a small travelling sewing machine. The definition and texture that quilting brings to a quilt is delightful and can be seen on the last two photos. This journey was a challenge of limitations and I am proud of the flexibility that I utilised to complete my piece.

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