Australia–– THE bushfire that devastated Margaret River last year became firmly entrenched in the mind of Joan Tuffin as she stared out over the charred remains of her Margaret River property.
So much so that she felt compelled to capture it in patchwork.
Its a journey I had to take. The shock and devastation made me feel compelled to do it, the local patchwork artist explained.
Though their house was spared, the surrounds were not and she was able to absorb the charred remains from the second-floor balcony of the house that husband Tom, she and the children had built themselves.
When the fire swept through their area they had no idea if the home was still standing, but as they drove to the entrance of their property they did not believe it had been spared because of the burnt landscape.
Incredibly it was unscathed.
That was surprise number one.
Surprise number two came when she returned from Japan just over a week ago, as part of the Sugito sister-city visit, to learn that her patchwork of the fire had won not only the section she had entered but also the special-theme competition, Southwest Patch.
The win was timely, as this Friday marks the first anniversary of the bushfire and follows the announcement last week of the State Governments increased compensation for victims.
The work depicts the scene of our property when I first saw it after the fire, Joan said.
Others fared much worse than us, but it was still a shock to see the outcome of the fire.
Its something I needed to do. I spent months thinking about it before I eventually decided to tackle it.
I usually dont design my original pieces completely at the outset, starting only with a simple outline inspiration flows as the piece develops.
The words that accompanied her show entry aptly summed up the tragedy.
Devastation: The ever present threat of wildfire became a reality on November 23, 2011 when our patch of country ignited into a conflagration of immense size and intensity, causing destruction, chaos and devastation. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.