PM Please Quilt, craftivism
PM Please Quilt (2015) 210cm x 165cm
Appliqué quilt made using suit swatches and recycled ties, bamboo wadding, hand embroidered using cotton embroidery thread. 
Above is the letter I received from the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in response to this project. 
The idea for this quilt came in October 2015, not long after Turnbull (yet another new Prime Minister) was sworn into office. At the time there was a very palpable shift in the way people perceived the government as a result of the latest leadership change, a shift marked by a renewed hope that it may once again be possible to engage in more complex and inclusive dialogue about the future of Australia. With a federal election less than 12 months away I felt that there was no better time to reach out to the Prime Minister in order to try communicate what’s really important to us ordinary citizens.
With this project idea in mind I successfully put forward an application to perform the making of this work as part of the HillsceneLIVE art festival which was held in Monbulk, VIC on the 30th of October 2015. In the three weeks leading up to the festival I used social media to collect a total of 121 messages for the quilt (full list at the end of this page). With the help of 23 festival goers, I hand-stitched every single message I received onto suit swatches without making any changes or omissions to the messages I was sent. I then used these embroidered suit swatches, along with a bundle of second-hand ties as patches for the quilt which also features an appliqué portrait of Turnbull holding beloved dog Mellie, who sadly passed away in 2013.
The idea behind this project was to find a creative and generous way to reach out to the new Prime Minister and communicate the issues and concerns of everyday citizens who wanted to reach out and have their voices heard by their new leader. In this way this artwork is about democracy – it is about the right of citizens to voice their concerns and have the issues they feel passionately about acknowledged and addressed by their elected leaders.
Following the completion of this quilt I spent about 8 months trying to leverage my social capital in order make contact with Turnbull so that I might give him the quilt as a gift on behalf of all the people who contributed to this project. However, with the 2016 election coming up fast I decided to drive to Turnbull's office in Sydney and hand the quilt over in person. His office accepted the quilt and two days following the announcement that Turnbull was elected the Prime Minister I received a call to say that the PM had seen the quilt, that appreciated the work that went into making it and that he was happy to accept this gift. 
I borrowed the work back for an exhibition I had at the George Paton Gallery in September 2016 and when I wrote to the PM's office to arrange returning the quilt I was told:  "It may be best to hang on to it for yourself as a memory of your achievements, as there are restrictions around what Mr Turnbull can accept as personal gifts with the registry so it may end up halted in our office."
After receiving this message I negotiated to have the PM Please quilt donated to the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra. The hanging was accepted by the museum's acquisition committee and became part of the permanent collection as of the 20th March 2017.  Also part of the museum's collection is my grandmother Dawn Fitzpatrick's artwork "The Prime Ministers at the Marble Bar" (1983/97) which is a large textile wall hanging featuring a portrait of every Australian Prime Ministers from 1901 until 2007.
Read more about the quilt handover at: 
Handing the quilt over to the office of the Prime Minister, two days before the 2016 election.  
Handing over the PM Please quilt to the Director Daryl Karp of the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House Canberra (20 March 2017) 
Participants at the Monbulk HillsceneLIVE festival 2015 working on their embroidered messages for the Prime Minister 
Work in progress, stitching the messages onto the suit swatches
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Detail from the making of the quilt
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Detail of the messages on the quilt 
Site for the performance of the making of the quilt at HillsceneLIVE 2015 in Monbulk, Victoria.  corner 
Participants Sam and KT stitching their messages for the PM at HillsceneLIVE 2015, Monbulk. 
Work in progress shot, piecing the quilt together. 
Finished quilt, image courtesy of Fairfax 
Photo from the handover of the PM Please Quilt to the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House Canberra (20 March 2017) 
The full list of 121 messages I collected via social media and as part of the HillsceneLIVE art festival in Monbulk (VIC) include: 
1. #PMPLZ put the environment first.
2. #PMPLZ stop coal mining ruining our future.
3. #PMPLZ end mandatory offshore detention.
4. #PMPLZ prioritise preventative healthcare.
5. #PMPLZ save the Syrian refugees
6. #PMPLZ legalise same sex marriage.
7. #PMPLZ decriminalise abortion.  
8. #PMPLZ address the human rights abuses of our country, particularly with regard to asylum seekers.
9. #PMPLZ improve mental health services in Australia. Particularly in rural areas.
10. #PMPLZ invest in renewable energy.
11. #PMPLZ let your actions speak louder than campaign promises
12. #PMPLZ decriminalise sex work.
13. #PMPLZ ban live animal exports
14. #PMPLZ accept my conditional thanks. Now repair Abbott’s actions.
15. #PMPLZ don’t disappoint us.
16. #PMPLZ govern for people not corporations.
17. #PMPLZ ban plastic bags now.
18. #PMPLZ restore the arts funding
19. #PMPLZ take care of our refugees and asylum seekers
20. #PMPLZ don’t deprive refugee children of a normal life
21. #PMPLZ listen to us
22. #PMPLZ take global warming seriously
23. #PLZPLZ keep children out of detention. 
24. #PMPLZ put a price on carbon
25. #PMPLZ stop so many women being murdered by their partners
26. #PMPLZ put food before mines
27. #PMPLZ no nanny state
28. #PMpPLZ value our indigenous peoples’ ways of knowing.
29. #PMPLZ legalise medicinal marijuana
30. #PMPLZ protect sacred sites
31. #PMPLZ end welfare quarantining
32. #PMPLZ acknowledge Indigenous sovereignty
33. #PMPLZ tax the wealthy not the poor
34. #PMPLZ protect the Great Barrier Reef
35. #PMPLZ protect our oceans from overfishing
36. #PMPLZ respect the CSIRO
37. #PMPLZ support the state education system
38. #PMPLZ please keep our penalty rates
39. #PMPLZ keep our privacy private
40. #PMPLZ end mandatory data retention
41. #PMPLZ stop taxing our periods
42. #PMPLZ make us proud
43. #PMPLZ ensure the national roll out of the disability insurance scheme
44. #PMPLZ stop modelling Australia after America, or we will end up with the same kind of homelessness
45. #PMPLZ increase the money we spend on international aid
46. #PMPLZ set serious targets for reducing carbon emissions
47. #PMPLZ legislate marriage equality.
48. #PMPLZ make same-sex marriage legal.
49. #PMPLZ allow people in love to get married.
50. #PMPLZ support full adoption rights for same-sex couples.
51. #PMPLZ don’t waste money on a plebiscite
52. #PMLZ abandon the unnecessary and damaging changes to arts sector funding.
53. #PMPLZ restore arts funding.
54. #PMPLZ understand artists need funding and encouragement
55. #PMPLZ stop animal factory farming
56. #PMPLZ end live animal export
57. #PMPLZ care for our water
58. #PMPLZ re-instate the carbon tax
59. #PMPLZ roll out a national container deposit scheme.
60. #PMPLZ establish the Great Forest National Park
61. #PMPLZ consider green energies and a blue economy
62. PMPLZ ban CSG mining
63. #PMPLZ legislate voluntary euthanasia
64. #PMPLZ celebrate Australian multiculturalism.
65. #PMPLZ I want a humanitarian government.
66. #PMPLZ have a greater consciousness than any before.
67. #PMPLZ seek justice, love and mercy.
68. #PMPLZ increase the supply of suitable affordable housing
69. #PMPLZ end homelessness
70. #PMPLZ remember that whistleblowers should be protected not prosecuted
71. #PMPLZ treat refugees as people too
72. #PMPLZ ensure better planning for infrastructure in remote indigenous communities.
73. #PMPLZ have zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination
74. #PMPLZ respect traditional owners land rights, beliefs and values.
75. #PMPLZ resign
76. #PMPLZ let love in
77. #PMPLZ let us have a conversation.
78. #PMPLZ fight for the workplace rights of our medical professional.
79. #PMPLZ roll back ‘security’ measures that infringe on our civil rights
80. #PMPLZ keep your hands off our metadata
81. #PMPLZ visit Emerald for a cuppa and chat
82. #PMPLZ adopt an Australian bill of rights
83. #PMPLZ print more money so we can all be better off
84. #PMPLZ support our seafarers
85. #PMPLZ invest in a shipbuilding industry
86. #PMPLZ help end poverty worldwide
87. #PMPLZ lift alcohol restrictions in rural communities and allow them to regulate their own consumption
88. #PMPLZ update the animal welfare act in all states
89. #PMPLZ let the boats in, everyone is human
90. #PMPLZ help close the gap
91. #PMPLZ help preserve aboriginal sacred sites
92. #PMPLZ put an end to domestic violence
93. #PMPLZ put people before the economy
94. #PMPLZ keep university accessible to all
95. #PMPLZ what tragedy happened to you that you can hear the voice of money but are deaf to to humanity and the cries of mother earth
96. #PMPLZ don’t be afraid to risk your political career in order to make a difference
97. #PMPLZ address gender inequality
98. #PMPLZ care for our environment
99. #PMPLZ lead the world in compassion
100. #PMPLZ Stay out of my business
101. #PMPLZ create an equal society for all
102. #PMPLZ learn compassion
103. #PMPLZ don’t be shit
104. #PMPLZ end animal cruelty
105. #PMPLZ remember the bees
106. #PMPLZ tax Gina
107. #PMPLZ wage peace
108. #PMPLZ be honest
109. #PMPLZ speak respectfully of your opposition
110. #PMPLZ ban cage eggs
111. #PMPLZ ban horse racing
112. #PMPLZ treat refugees with respect
113. #PMPLZ abolish uni fees
114. #PMPLZ ban factory farming
115. #PMPLZ empty the tanks
116. #PMPLZ support the arts
117. #PMPLZ share your wealth
118. #PMPLZ tax the wealthy not the poor
119. #PMPLZ help us die with dignity, increase aged care funding
120. #PMPLZ respect us, represent us, good luck
121. #PMPLZ just stop eroding common law  
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