It has taken me 26 years of trail and error to come to this point – I’ve finally figured out what artistic medium I want to dedicate my practice to. This medium is one that up until 1.5  years ago I have never even tried, but as soon as I did I was sure I wanted to dedicate my life to it – it was love at first… quilting!!

All my life I have been surrounded by the stunning textile artworks of my paternal grandmother artist Dawn Fitzpatrick. In the early to mid 70’s she innovated her own unique style of applique quilting which she has used to create figurative wall hangings – she called it “cloth art”. Since then she has been making and exhibiting work in Australia and internationally and although she is underrepresented by our fine galleries and museums (being a woman artist working in textiles made it pretty hard to get any recognition back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s) her hanging “The Prime Ministers at The Marble Bar” (1983) is held by the Museum of Australian democracy at Old Parliament House. As well as this her book “Folk Art Applique Quilts” (1994) is a well-loved classic in the quilting book world. Dawn in 93 this year and no longer makes quilts, but she does still draw every day – they don’t make them like they used to!

Here is some of Dawn’s work:

Dawn cloth art

Anyway, her artwork has literally hung above my bed since I was born and it has clearly shaped me aesthetically without me even noticing… So to cut a long story short – I’m excited! So excited in fact that I have moved interstate and started a practice led PhD at the Centre for Cultural Partnerships at the Victorian College of Arts, Melbourne University in the medium of quilting. Below are some examples of my own quilted artworks with many more to come in the near future – I’d love to hear what you think about them.

Plus you can keep up to date with my PhD research into “Craft and the Political Moment” on my other blog: https://praxialpractice.wordpress.com/


2016-03-11 12.44.48.jpg

IWDA Fifty Fifty Project (2016)
For more info visit: https://praxialpractice.wordpress.com

tal-fitzpatrick-Venus CourtVenus Court (2015)
2m x 2m, made using new and recycled cloth, machine appliqué, silkscreen ink and fabric pens. This piece is my first commission, it was made for Jake and Sam O’Brien who have a band called Venus Court and who used this quilt as the image as their EP album art and who have this hanging on stage with them when the preform.

IC-quilt-2015Igniting Change Bookcase Story Quilt (2015) 
217cm x 130cm, made using new and recycled cloth, machine appliqué, silkscreen ink and fabric pens. This quilt was made during a residency at the office of Igniting Change, a Melbourne based charity as part of my PhD research at the VCA, University of Melbourne. It tells the story of the organisation and was donated by me to Igniting change, it now hangs in their office in Balaclava.

PM-PLZ-quilt-2015PM Please Quilt (2015)
210cm x 165cm,  Wagga quilt made by reusing ties and suit swatches, hand-embroidery and machine quilting.  This quilt was made as part of my PhD research at the VCA, University of Melbourne. It was created with the help of 23 festival goers and over 80 online contributors who shared their short messages for the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. These messages were hand stitched onto the quilt which will be given to the PM as a gift in 2016. This quilt was made using second-hand ties and suit swatches and is adorned with 121 hand-stitched messages to the prime minister, each beginning with the words PM Please.

wage-peace-quilt-2015Wage Peace Quilt (2015)
50cm x 50xm, made using new and recycled cloth, machine appliqué.

tal-fitzpatrick-girls just want to have funGirls just want to have fundamental human rights (2015) 
50cm x 50cm, made using new and recycled materials, machine appliqué quilting and hand embroidery.tal-fitzpatrick-feminist killjoyFeminist Killjoy XOXOX (2015) 50cm x 350cm, made using new and recycled materials, machine appliqué quilting and hand embroidery.

ECH quilt

Resilience, Resistance and Responsibility (2015)
2m x 2m, new and recycled cloth, machine applique, silkscreen ink and fabric pens.
Made during a residency at Emerald Community House, Emerald, Victoria. Exhibited during the 2015 PAVE community art festival in Emerald and gifted to Emerald Community House and the Emerald Community.


Detail photo of ECH quilt

Below- photos from the opening of my exhibition at Emerald Community House, Emerald Victoria. Officially opened on the 12 April 2015 by Bruce Esplin, Chairman of Regional Arts Victoria and Marry Farro, Director of Emerald Community House. ECH opening

Protest Banner #1 – No Justice No Peace! (2014) 
1m x 1.20m, new and recycled cotton, machine appliqué quilted banner.


Protest Banner #2 – Fuck Your Patriarchy! (2014)
1m x 1.20m, new and recycled cotton, machine applique quilted banner and fabric pens.


Detail from bannerIMG_2267

Jake O’Brien and myself holding up my protest banners at the Black Friday rally against the forced closure of Aboriginal community in WA in March 2015.

protest banners


Portrait of Karl.S Williams (2014)
70cm x 70cm, new and recycled cotton, machine applique quilt with silk-screen ink and fabric pen.

Detail of faceIMG_2320

Very close up detail of face




What little Hope Remains (2014)
2m x 2m, new and recycled cotton, machine appliqué quilt, silkscreen ink and machine embroidery.

Detail of bird



finished pillows

You and Me (2014)
45cm x 45cm, new and recycled cotton, machine applique quilted pillow cases.

souther star quilt

Under these Southern Stars (2013)
90cm x 90cm, hand embroidery in gold thread onto black velvet.
Made using a Hapticlab template which can be found here: http://www.hapticlab.com/products/diy-constellation 
Apologies for the terrible quality photo, this quilt is really hard to photograph without a proper camera and lighting… 

If you want to know more OR if you want to talk about doing a community project or even  commissioning a quilt please email me: tal.fitzpatrick@gmail.com 


2 responses to “Quilting

  1. Glenda Mitchell (nee Bones)

    Lovely to see Dawn’s talent has passed to her granddaughter and you are continuing and developing your own style. I knew your family in 1977 (I actually used to sleep in Dawn’s studio at Cremorne Point!)

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