Thursday, 13 September 2012

Merelyn Pearce

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have recently been studying the work of Margaret Preston with the Waverley Art Quilters.

Merelyn Pearce is an Australian Quilter from NSW and she has spent the last ten years studying the works of Margaret Preston and making the most wonderful and detailed quilts as a tribute to one of Australia's most famous Australian female artists.

I asked Merelyn a few questions about her interest in Margaret Preston and the quilts that she has made and she kindly gave me permission to put them on my blog.

I took these photos of Merelyn's Quilt, Preston Dreaming at the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) this year. This quilt won Best of Show in Sydney in 2011 and Best of Australia at AQC in April this year.
Preston Dreaming ©2011 Merelyn Pearce

1. Have you always admired Margaret Preston or was it a recent discovery?
I have always been drawn to the work of Margaret Preston.

2. What inspired you to make the first Margaret Preston Quilt?
 In 1995 I was given a calendar featuring the works of Aust. artists . One of the prints was a work by M.P and I immediately thought that it would translate beautifully into a quilt. This lay in the mental back burner until 2000 when the opportunity arose to realise my inspiration. The resulting quilt won B.O.S at Sydney in 2002 and also Best of Oz that year.

Detail of Preston Dreaming

3. What was it about her paintings that attracted you?
Her work excited, enlivened and engaged me as well as giving a fabulous feeling of pattern and strength of design and colour.

4 .Did you set out to make a series of 6 quilts based on Margaret Preston?
The first quilt was always intended to be the one and only but as I got further into the study of her designs, inspiration just kept coming.

Detail 2 of Preston Dreaming

5. Do you draw up your designs completely before you begin or do they evolve as you go?
Most of my quilts have evolved as they have gone on. The first was completely revised as it progressed and subsequent ones were designed as they went, mainly because to design another enormous hand applique project was just too enervating.

6. What was the most difficult part of making the quilts? Did you have many problems?
The most difficult part of making the quilt is in the design process. Everything after that is a joy.
You just go with the flow and solve any problems on the way.

Detail 3 of Preston Dreaming

7. Will you miss making the quilts or are you completely over it now?
There are more quilts in this theme that I can see as great inspirations but I feel I now need to explore other options after 10 years devoted to the same subject.

8. Did you discover any interesting stories about Margaret Preston?
I love the fact that Margaret and her husband moved into the Hotel Mosman in 1945 so that she could paint uninterrupted by housework or cooking which she hated. She also loathed gardening...."I let God make the flowers. I paint them" she said.
She also trained in pottery so that she could teach it to shell-shocked soldiers after W.W.11 to get them used to using their fingers as a form of therapy. She was a commanding personality..."she was like a bomb in a room...everything sparkled and shook when she was about", and this to me sums up the impact of her work.
detail 4 of Preston Dreaming
I wish I could direct you to the website or blog of Merelyn Pearce but she is too busy making her wonderful quilts and hasn't the time or inclination to have one so far!
There is a link to some of her photos on the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) site.
There is also an interview with Merelyn by Luana Rubin of equilter on the Web explaining one of her quilts
Thank you Merelyn for kindly answering my questions. Merelyn has been working at the Bernina Quilt Stands at the shows around Australia, please say hello to her if you get the chance.
Bye for now,

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