Pulling together the threads of village life

News & Events

Pulling together the threads of village life

December 7, 2017

A group of talented Rushall Park artists, sewers and embroiderers is stitching together the architectural history of the North Fitzroy village. The 10 women have begun embroidering the 10cm squares, which represent 24 different cottages, including the first cottages built almost 150 years ago. The embroidered squares will eventually form a wall hanging to be exhibited as part of the 150th celebrations in 2019.

The cottages were painted by Rushall Park artist Pat Medland, and then printed on fabric. Each images provides a cottage for each of the embroiderers to embellish in whatever way they want.

Jennifer Barden, who describes herself as a better facilitator than embroiderer, is one of the women who got the project off the ground, along with accomplished embroiderer Jan Geard. She said the artistic talents of so many Rushall Park residents means that the end product should be a wonderfully creative historic interpretation of the village’s development.

Some of the women are embroidering over the painted image to accurately portray the look of a cottage. Others are stressing certain features such as a slate roof. Others are accentuating the gardens with bold colours and designs.

Pat Medland, who lives in one of the early Coppin Ave cottages, said most of the sketches were done using photographs taken on her iPad. She started off doing four units and then 12, then 18 and it kept growing. Pat has already embroidered two of the cottages, including her own.

“The beauty of this project is that each of the embroiderers can highlight, or add, what they see when they look at a particular cottage. So the same two cottage sketches I have done might look different if embroidered by different women,” Pat said.

Pat hopes that when all the squares come together, the final design will feature stunning cottages, pathways, trees and the gardens that are such a landmark of Rushall Park.

Jennifer said the 150th project offered each of the embroiderers an opportunity to express their creativity – and there’s some great creative talent at Rushall Park.

The final look of the embroidered project is still a work in progress. Jennifer said the cottage patches will be laid out some time next year and then other features will be added to the background.

“We can’t embroider every cottage in the village, so through this work we are trying to capture how the village evolved. We think it will look stunning,” Jennifer said. “As well as the buildings there are some iconic features at Rushall Park that would be good to include such as the old fire hydrants and the signs.”

Jennifer’s cottage is also one of the designs printed on fabric and she is highlighting the bluestones and the garden along the front.

“The final look of the project is still a mystery, but I hope that by Easter 2018 we will be ready to embark on stage 2 which is how the cottage patches will be used. “

“It is fun to be a part of this project that is celebrating 150 years of life here at Rushall Park and it will be a legacy for the people who live here after us. Something for them to add to; after all we are a part of a story that will go on and on.”

Once finished, the embroiderers hope the piece will be displayed in the community centre and will form part of the OCAV 150th celebrations in 2019.

Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.

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