Kaylene Maalste – When East Meets West – Pearls, Gold and Sugar

I had several ideas for this challenge, but the final selection came to me after watching a TV program on Chinese influence on Australian cooking, so I looked at our history concerning the gold rush era, pearling in Western Australia and the early days of the sugar industry in Queensland as these industries relied on labour from the east and South Pacific. I have posted the links to this history for further reading, unfortunately some of this history is sad and unforgivable.


Gold Mining


Technique: Images printed on old damask tablecloth and hand quilted with embellishment of hand embroidery and gold metal leaf on fabric and pearl buttons.



Close up view:


Images of the Chinese gold miners and mining regulations translated to Chinese.


Top right hand side has a map of the labour trade routes from the South Pacific and a group of Kanak students at school.


Photograph of pearl luggers in Western Australia

  1. Another intriguing inspiration from history…!

  2. English quilter

    This is part of history we never learnt about in English schools. Our geography module on Australia focused on the British immigrants. The photo transfers on the damask are very effective.

  3. Fascinating history that you’ve translated into a very meaningful quilt. I’m not usually a history fan but I like this.

  4. Chantal Guillermet

    I like the economy of colours on this piece and the link with history is interesting

  5. Love the history in this, the colour along with the photos give the impression of sepia, and therefore ages gone by.

  6. Very nice design and I loved reading about the history behind it.

  7. http://ekeskleurdesign.blogspot.no/

    A really interesting part of the world history, especially because we don’t learn a lot about Australia in the history lessons on school. Your quilt is like a map, telling about the different things, happening over the ages. The colours matches with the story, it feels like stepping back in time. Nice done.

  8. joanbrailsford

    An interesting story behind this design and I lovely depiction of the history. I like how you have incorporated the images and the quiet colour scheme that it very sympathetic to these.

  9. An interesting story I never heard about. Nice use of the images. You chose the right colours for such a historic theme.

  10. The history of the Chinese gold miners almost mirrors the history in the goldfields of New Zealand. The style and subdued colours are perfect and enhance the story from history. A very well executed quilt.

  11. Kaylene, this is very powerful. It makes me think of the art that has grown up around war -dispatches from the front, captured in black and white. The gold detail and hand stitch contribute to the effect. It’s a compelling piece.

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