Exhibitions: Reach For The Sky

An exhibition of quilts by Jan T Urquhart (Baillie) and photographs by the late Paul Urquhart

Artist's statement:

[su_quote cite="Jan T"]I wanted to interpret Paul's wonderful outback Australia photos in quilts

As we travelled around Australia on our annual holidays, my late first husband, Paul, took literally hundreds of photos. I decided to make an interpretative quilt using one of these photos, and began Come to the Water. The photo was not literally interpreted, just used as a jumping off point for my design.[/su_quote]

My inspiration:

Paul's photographs of outback trips

The photos were mounted on old fence palings — the rougher the better — with chicken wire photo corners attached with large fencing staples, and old clothes line wire for hangers. Sadly there are the only two of these still in existence, as a flood in the storeroom damaged the rest.

Reach for the Sky quilt

Reach for the Sky (left) was hung in the Dame Mary Durack Outback Craft awards held at the Queensland Art Gallery, and was well received by judges and public alike.

The quilt depicts a three sided boomerang spinning up into the sky to reach and bring the Southern Cross down to us, on the red dune. I used the 60 degree triangle for the design, a shape I use over and over in my quilts.

When I decided to make a series of quilts in 1993, the name of this quilt was exactly the right title for the exhibition.


Penong windmills

Inspiration Photograph

In a tiny South Australia township called Penong, we came across a windmill farm, with many small windmills, unlike most outback windmills which are sixty or so feet high. They were mounted on wheels!

It seems that when the water table was too low, they simply wheeled the windmills along to another area.

Without the artesian bores, this country could not have been developed, as water is so scarce.

Exhibition Quilt: Come To The Water

Come To The Water

Quilt Description

The windmills are Grandmother's Fan patchwork blocks, while the block in the background is Double Windmill.

Machine pieced, hand quilted.

© Jan T Urquhart Baillie
Vortex picture

Inspiration Photograph

A vortex pool at the bottom of a gorge in the Hammersley Gorges in West Australia.

Hammersley Vortex quilt

Hammersley Vortex quilt

Hammersley Vortex

Pieced by Jan T, quilted by Angela Clark, her eldest daughter. The quilt was made using the pineapple log cabin block, and in the colours of the rocks.

Paul's Secret Garden

Paul's Secret Garden

Queensland Quilters Secret Garden challenge

This quilt was actually made for my entry in Queensland Quilters Secret Garden challenge in 1991.

As far as we know I was the only quilter putting photos on quilts at that time.

Four photos were transferred to fabric at a print shop, and then collaged and cut into the background for the pleats.

The judge wanted to award first prize to the quilt, but I was the President of QQ at that time, but according to the guild rules, no committee members could win.

I was chuffed that he tried to award it to me!

Blue Rock


We found a beautiful blue brick near an old mine adit at Wittenoom. It was blue asbestos — very nasty!

This is one of the first quilts I made where I realised I was making environmental statements:

Take care that what you dig up is actually beautiful, not dangerous...

Take Care When You Gouge Holes In Me

Take Care When You Gouge Holes In Me


The 'hole' on the quilt is burnt out of the patch to see what lies beneath.

Mostly hand dyed scraps of fabric that were a gift from Tina Sutton. Read an amusing anecdote about this quilt.

Machine quilted © Jan T Urquhart Baillie

Tracks in the early morning light on a desert dune


Tracks left in the night on the sand, but they will blow away in the wind

Do You Leave Tracks?

Do You Leave Tracks?


Are your tracks blown away in the wind?

Or are you careless about what you leave behind?

Machine quilted © Jan T Urquhart Baillie

Yardie Creek Gorge
Yardie Creek Gorge

Yardie Creek Gorge

The beautiful red orange gorge and the tourquoise water produced with free-form triangles and strips.

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