Carmel Bird


All photos © Drunell Levinson. All rights reserved.

Among the people who died at the Twin Towers on September Eleven were twenty Australians. My quilt panel commemorates those twenty lives, illustrating them as twenty Ulysses butterflies. The Ulysses butterfly lives in the Australian tropical rainforest. I have included in the design a translatin of a few lines of poetry from Federico Garcia Lorca, expressing in words written long before the Twin Towers were even imagined, something of the anguish of New York under attack.

I constructed the panel from calico onto which I appliqued images of butterflies cut from fabric designed and made in Australia. The visual side of the work is not quilted, but rather fixed randomly with buttons, leaving the space between the flames of the buildings and the stars of the sky open, attracting silent thoughts. The edging is cut from floral Liberty fabric, suggesting life, and also a yearning for nature, peace, and freedom.

It is not always clear how people not closely and personally affected by tragedy can contribute to the cause of healing, can express how they feel in response to what has happened. Making the panel has given me a sense of participation in the grief and also in the hope that comes with the realization of membership in the wider human family.

I am grateful to Drunell for her role in the whole project, and to Elia Alba for her friendship and her invitation to make a panel for the quilt.

Carmel Bird          

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