I received a lovely email from Frances in the latter part of 2019 asking me if I’d be interested in this project, which was inspired by many justice-focussed contributions at #OER19, including some of my own writing. I signed on immediately, thinking of making a block with Behrouz Bouchani‘s poetry quoted on it somewhere, highlighting justice for refugees.  This issue is relevant in Australia as around the world, something I’ve followed and campaigned for – for too long (as in, we shouldn’t be still needing to advocate, right? It should be sorted. Hrmph.)

But not long before Frances contacted me Behrouz Bouchani was finally freed. I felt absolutely sure that this was primarily a result of relentless public pressure, campaigning, rallies, media, artworks, poetry and publishing of refugee stories. So I made one block with a line from Behrouz’s poem written behind bars (Our Mothers, a poem for Reza) – broken hearted and breaking all our hearts. And a second block to Keep Hope Alive! Also declaring that Resistance is never Futile. Which is important for all of us to remember. The struggles are long, but there is change.

I feel sure I’ll see the finished quilt in all its glory one day. But since I sent my packet of fabric squares winging their way to Macclesfield the world has changed. First the Aussie bushfires,  next COVID19.

I sewed these blocks together in January 2020, whilst on a cruise to New Zealand. Before I went, I raided *mum’s felt and fabric collection and picked her brains re method, since I hadn’t hand sewn for decades.

Who can contemplate a cruise now? I look back at the photos of my partner and I finally enjoying a long-awaiting break, without the weight of the PhD hanging on us. A lovely cabin and the ever-changing ocean outside. Precious memories of a time we’ll never forget, sailing into a bizarre future we didn’t see coming. As I garden my way through the “social isolation” anxiety, I enjoy the return of the birds and the images of a world unburdened by our pollution from our busy-busy-busyness on the planet.

Something good will come of this. Keep Hope Alive!

*Thanks to my mother, Roslyn Lambert, an experienced and inspiring quilter of contemporary art quilts. Mum quilts in the same Wollongong group as Rebecca Albury, who made the “Quilt of Stars” featured on Kate Bowles OER19 keynote. This still makes me smile.


Shared by: Sarah Lambert
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