I am pleased to report that the May Gibbs/Blue Cross Quilt – known in Bootville as the Squishy Baby Bums Quilt – is finished and there was no further loss of fabric. In fact, the final stage went smoothly and quickly and all were satisfied with the outcome :-) Very satisfied. Thank goodness the lovely Miss Amy posted her Crosses quilt on Instagram – I would never have thought of putting blocks together in this way. Huzzah for Miss Amy!
It has such an old world look about it, this quilt. I love it! I love the striking big blue crosses. I love the higgledy-piggledy Blossom babies with their squishy pink bottoms and rolls of delicious baby fat nestled in amongst the Australian bush. And oh the red border – how it sets it off. Yum!
Apart from all those squishy babies, the other feature I especially love about this quilt is one particular fabric … the yellow background with gumnut babies lazily resting in the trees watching the sunrise. These particular illustrations have a beautiful slow buzz about them – a real Australian, summer bush buzz. That still, almost hot beauty of an Australian summer morn when you stand in front of the open window and sigh with deep satisfaction as a soft breeze caresses your body, knowing that in a few hours, it will be too hot to move, but right now, it’s perfect.
The image of the rising sun is one I’m soooo fond of. You see it everywhere from the turn of the last century through to the 1930s. Check out this lovely example – we see heaps of these gates around our neighbourhood and you can be assured, if I ever see one in hard rubbish … Ooooh and this is such a lovely one too. Here’s a rising sun in a lead light window – gorgeous! The rising sun is all through Art Deco sculpture and architecture … the Empire State Building is crowned with a beautiful rising sun, as are many of the lovely old buildings surrounding my university.
I first became aware of this image when watching the wonderful English film “Hope & Glory” – the Boorman family had a rising sun in their wooden front gate – as did everyone in the street – and Mac (cynical family friend) mocked the sun along with the street name (I think it was Rose Avenue and as Mac pointed out there were no roses and a treeless street does not an avenue make) and the whole intention of the new purpose built family friendly suburbs declaring it all to be part of a government conspiracy to delude ordinary British folk into thinking life was good and the times ahead would be prosperous and glorious.
Whilst I know there are some things in life that are safest viewed through my rose coloured glasses, I cannot agree with Mac’s sentiment. Whenever I see the rising sun, be it illuminating Gumnut babies in May Gibb’s illustrations, welded into humble 1930s garden gates, or delicately painted onto Clarice Cliff’s gorgeous pottery, I am filled with an optimistic warmth. It symbolises that a new day lays in the palm of my hand, promising opportunities filled with light, life, strength and indeed hope. Even on the dreary days, the stretched out fingers of the rising sun remind me that no matter what, she will return tomorrow, just as beautiful.
I’m sure that that is what people, who for thousands of years and in every culture around our globe, have thought/felt as they’ve included the rising sun in their art, mythology and literature. Such good and powerful stuff. You’ve only got to look at those little squishy bummed babies perched high in the gumtrees – unlike their friends in the other pattern ways who are all busy and bothered, hurried and excited, the babes facing the rising sun are completely satiated and calm. There’s nothing else they need but that lovely warmth :-)
Now, where are those quilting pins …