Today I am sharing Lana’s story with you. Lana is a nurse and lives on Yuinmery Station, which is in the Midwest area of Western Australia, the station is 150km east of Mt Magnet and the first lease was taken up in 1916.
I know from many years of driving between Perth and Karratha, it has always fascinated me that that you can be in the middle of nowhere and up pops a sign out to a station, which can be another 100-200 kms in any direction.
Here is Lana’s story for you to enjoy.
My husband and I live on our 125 000 ha cattle station 76km dirt road, south of Sandstone. We grew up on neighbouring stations in the Sandstone district and laugh and say, I travelled the world (nursing) only to marry the boy next door. It was a sheep property but we switched over to cattle in 2009, because of the wild dog/dingo problem. This required removing 400 km of sheep fencing and converting the other 200 km for cattle. Then we built the yards at 25 of the windmills. David has two wonderful children, who have given us 2 grandchildren and No 3 due in Nov (very exciting). We also have a son, 21 (electrical apprenticeship in Moora where they went to boarding school) and a daughter, 19 (2nd year accountancy externally through uni) in Dalwallinu.
I have been on Yuinmery Station 25 years now and took over the Sandstone Nursing Post in 2001, running the clinic one day a week. I am the only nurse but the RFDS Dr flies down from Meekatharra every fortnight and we run the clinic together. The RFDS have been my support when dealing with roll overs and other medical emergencies and I have donated many quilted items for their fundraising.
Have you always been creative?
Mum taught all 4 daughters to sew and we went on to make our own clothes in high school. I can ball room dance and made many dresses for these balls too.
Your first foray into the quilting world was?
When our daughter was born (bad timing, 22nd Dec, middle of shearing and stinking hot) Mum came to help and taught me to make my first quilt. As she had already made one for the baby I gave it to my twin sister Jan Fisher for her first baby. (She also had a boy then a girl). I cross stitched the centre poem which has become my tradition to give to all new mums in our family, along with a big Christmas stocking.
Have you won any quilt awards? Locally, nationally, international ( photo if possible)
Despite only quilting for a few years, Jan and I began our own successful pattern business. We sold children’s cartoon style projects and adult patterns featuring Australian fauna and flora. We were published in AP&Q and Patchwork & Stitching magazines.
Jan then moved to Christmas Island and opened an opportunity to sell our work. This was very successful, allowing our creativity to really blossom and we have continued to sell solo and joint pieces. We also supply work to venues in Sandstone and participate in the annual Sandstone Art Exhibition.
I have enjoyed making many items for fundraising for the children’s primary and high school’s P&C’s, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association and the RFDS.
Post Cards of Kal SOTA made with tracings of the kids hands and featuring places across WA from where they came . Donated and auctioned for $2400 for the P&C and ICPA.
I have won numerous awards, been juried into state and national exhibitions, featured in international magazines and have quilts in permanent instillations. In 2014 Jan and I made a quilt together while she was living on Christmas Island (a bit tricky!) It was selected to go to AQC in Melbourne and as it was about Australia’s threatened fauna, we were very pleased its message was exposed to a wider audience.
In your spare time you enjoy……..?
Golf every Sunday. There are 6 in our club and the season goes from April – Oct, but my husband and I play all summer, even in 40+ degrees! I have been the Secretary/Treasurer and Captain for many years. My Hcp is currently 15 but I would really like a 25! (especially when playing on that foreign stuff called grass ). Our dog and I walk every day (we can’t let her out as we bait for wild dogs) and there is always new things to see, textures, shadows, contrasting colours….
Quilting Arts Magazine, I re-read them and they are still so inspiring.
A bit about your family? Are they supportive about what do you do?
Yes, they know it makes me happy and although I do a fair bit of raking (the garden is an acre) no one will remember that when I die! They have learned to walk around fabric taped to the floor (still training the cat)
Are you lucky enough to have a designated space in your home, to be able to close the door behind you and leave the mess?
Living where I do meant I taught our children school through Kalgoorlie School of the Air from Kindy to Year 7. This involved a half hour air lesson on the (originally transceiver) computer with the teacher and then me teaching everything else(sigh). We had a designated school room off the open plan lounge/kitchen. As they became more independent I could sew while supervising and my machine is now a permanent fixture on the kitchen table. The school room is now filled with my light box (a mapping table I scored when Youanmi Mine closed down next door), my boxes of fabric etc. I never close the door, fabric strewn everywhere is not a mess it is brewing creativity.
Do you belong to any WAQA small groups or any other craft groups.
Unfortunately no because I don’t have access, but I greatly value being a member of WAQA and avidly read our newsletters and appreciate the support the members have always given me. They have helped me grow with feedback on my quilts and encouragement to keep entering into challenges and shows. I enjoy challenges because it is really interesting to see how everyone else has interpreted the theme, the photos are often posted and so I can have access.
Favourite place to holiday?
We have done two trips with family into the Great Victorian Desert and discovered blazes from early explorers and aboriginal paintings at gnammerholes. It was amazing to go where so few people have been. We will do more of these discovery trips “out bush”. (handy having a very capable fix it man)
Favourite quilting/sewing tool you can’t live without?
I have discovered I can’t live without the sun. We are on solar power and when it is cloudy for long periods I can’t use the iron. (but I only had it on for a minute darling, as the whole system trips out…) I often have hand sewing of some description on the go to combat this.
I can’t live without?
Making mistakes it seems. I use the quick-un-pick a lot. One time I took the ugly sewing that just wouldn’t work, put it in the back bin and burnt it. It was very liberating!
Your favourite part of the whole quilting process?
Getting an idea, deciding how to interpret it and choosing the fabrics.
How much has quilting changed for you over the years?
I have tried many new things over the years, developing my skills so I now have a wide range of techniques to call upon when designing a project. I do love texture and embellishing with yarn and beads. Once a project is finished the next one will usually be a different style. After doing something big I will usually do a few small projects.
Your number one tip you can pass on to another quilter is?
Have a go and see what happens. Not everyone will like what you make and it may not work the first time, so give yourself permission to play and don’t worry about the finished result. Not everything has to end up a perfect show piece. (you can always burn it)
Do you have a “fabric/ribbon/buttons/thread stash”?
I keep everything! I can’t bear waste but also I don’t have easy access to supplies. All my tiny scraps are sorted into colour coded ice-cream containers, including one for fusible web. Many a time I have had to resort to joining up all these weeny pieces to finish a project. (can’t possibly set it aside and wait the 2 weeks for an internet order to arrive) My very ugly, old and second hand fabrics that I was given years ago can make the best rocks, tree bark, parts of birds etc and I enjoy sneaking them in.
Currently working on?
Is to do a combined project with Jan. We have done two big ones now with lots of phone discussions, photos by e-mail and posting bits back and forth. Our latest project will be in the next QuiltWest.
I also love making pieces for my family. Yippee a new baby! Jan and I are currently doing a photo comp with our daughters and niece. I am the judge and I will be making some prizes for them from their winning photos. With themes like construction, greyscale and emotions it will be interesting, challenging and fun. Hmmm wall hanging, table mat, little zip bag, tote……
Thank you Lana, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your story with me, so that I may share with our readers.