Laura-Mae West's passion for horses leads to a love of quilting and first prize at Sydney Royal Show

PASSION: Laura-Mae West with her two Sydney Royal prize winning pieces "Delore" (left) and "Stag" at the Murrurundi Historical Society.
PASSION: Laura-Mae West with her two Sydney Royal prize winning pieces "Delore" (left) and "Stag" at the Murrurundi Historical Society.

IT was one labour of love that led to another for Willow Tree’s Laura-Mae West - a journey that has eventually landed her a big blue ribbon at the prestigious Sydney Royal Show.

The 26-year-old’s passion for quilting began five years ago, stemming from unusual circumstances.

“I had an accident with a horse and the rope cut the end of my finger off,” she explained.

“I had a lot of swelling in my hand, so to reduce the swelling I took up crocheting and from there I went to knitting and embroidering and finished up at quilting.”

Laura and husband Mark, a horse breaker, live and work on 535 acre property “Westview” at Willow Tree. Since making the move from Newcastle eight years ago, Laura’s love for the art has been greatly inspired by the surrounding Liverpool Plains.

PASSION: Laura-Mae West with her Sydney Royal Show first prize winning piece "Stag" at the Murrurundi Historical Society.

PASSION: Laura-Mae West with her Sydney Royal Show first prize winning piece "Stag" at the Murrurundi Historical Society.

One of her creations - a wall hanging named “Stag” - picked up first prize in the ‘Innovative Category’ at the Sydney Royal Show last month.

“My inspiration for the work was the red deer that come out of the Great Dividing Range through winter time,” she said.

 “This quilt I started last year and it’s foundation paper pieced and applied to a quilted background. I machine quilted it on a domestic sewing machine using a Ganome 6600.”

Using a more modern interpretation of quilting which incorporates asymmetrical designs, Mrs West says it’s typical of her works to bring in aspects of her surroundings.

“I love animals and I love nature and that’s pretty much where I get all my inspiration from,” she said. “Each quilt has a story. The use of large negative space is also a more modern interpretation.”

Laura-Mae's work "On the 10th of the 10th" which features ten galahs.

Laura-Mae's work "On the 10th of the 10th" which features ten galahs.

A second piece named “Delore” also picked up third place in the ‘Small Bed Quilt Category’.

Mrs West says she first started entering her work into competitions in 2013. A first-time Sydney Royal Show entrant, it’s also the first time she’s picked up first place but it probably won’t be the last for the talented young quilter.

Several of Laura-Mae’s works are featured in the Murrurundi Historical Society’s Bi-Annual Quilts 2018 extravaganza which runs until June 3.

To reduce the swelling I took up crocheting and from there I went to knitting and embroidering and finished up at quilting.

Laura-Mae West