Friday, March 28, 2014

I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) quilt, AQC (Australasian Quilting Convention) 'Ten' Challenge Finalist 2014

I'm pleased to now be able to share my latest quilt which gained entry into the AQC 'Ten' themed challenge. I spoke a little about the theme concept of this intensely personal art quilt in my last blog post here, but essentially it's a memory quilt detailing my friends' struggle for a family and the child, miscarriages and still birth that followed.

I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) 125x125cm by  Neroli Henderson
Click to enlarge
Only one word for this caption - "Yay!!!"

Although it's a very simple piece symbology is rife throughout the design - every single leaf represents a real miscarriage, every joined double leaf is an IVF implant that failed to eventuate.  After IVF failed Denise became pregnant again naturally and it felt like it was meant to be until her baby Marcus was born sleeping, just a couple of days before his due date. Hospital staff took prints of his little hands and feet and I used those to free motion his prints onto the quilt. 

Footprints taken from Marcus Connor, born sleeping 2/1/11 were stitched using the real prints as guides.
Two faces are carved into the top part of the tree trunk, you can just see their profiles. The Dove represents Paige, now 11 and the eggs in the nest the cycle of life that will perpetuate. The heart on the tree is cut from metal and debossed with Marcus' initials and date of birth: MJC 2/1/11.

The metal heart is debased with Marcus' initials, the tree has been shaped to go in the direction of the grain and the type was free motion stitched with metallic gold thread.

The entire quilt is made from shot silks, so the colour changes significantly as you walk past. I've shaped the tree from textured silk so that the grain follows the line of the branches. All elements have been fused down raw-edge appliqué style. The poem has been free-motion stitched with metallic gold thread and the background  quilting has been kept simple with the name of the quilt inscribed into the bottom.

In this detail you can see the two faces carved in profile out of the top part of the tree trunk.
The borders have been made from sari silk edging which is a new way of finishing a quilt to me and one I haven't seen before. I hope you like it, it was an incredibly sad quilt to make and one that I hope will resonate with others who have had to go through this sort of loss. Still birth is much more prevalent that many would think.

To see the other finalists (and it's well worth a look - there are some amazing works) view them on the AQC website here.

Who's going to the AQC? If are please consider filling out the viewers choice form for this quilt. :)

Neroli x


  1. I knew there had to be a personal story to this one, and I feel for your friend. Childlessness is so often not a lifestyle choice, but one that circumstances dictate. If only more politicians would remember that when telling those of us without children that we're not 'doing our bit'.

    1. Absolutely. It certainly wasn't my first choice myself either. I've still got my fingers crossed but it's a very big question mark.