The Bernina Pictogram Project

So a few months ago Bernina asked me to be one of 5 kiwis chosen to represent Bernina New Zealand in a global challenge. The challenge was called The Bernina International Community Project 2015 and involved 5 countries; South Africa, India, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. 5 people from each country were chosen. The 5 kiwis selected were Catherine McDonald (Aotearoa Quilters president), Mary Transom, Ronnie Martin, Hazel Foot and myself. I was keen to be a part of this project as it was a good group of people chosen and I love my Bernina 770QE so want to support the Bernina brand.

We were all given some wool felt in different colours, a few madeira threads and a pictogram of either a male or female. The pictograms reminded me and some of the others of toilet signs!

I got blue, (my favourite colour) with a male pictogram. We had to use the outline of the pictogram at least once in its full size on the felt and the finished piece had to be a certain size but other than that we could do anything we wanted. The pictograms would then travel to Bernina International in Switzerland where they would be mounted onto a wooden base and go on display together. From January 2016 the completed project can be booked by Bernina Importers and be shown all over the world. I assume they are currently en route to Switzerland.

This was a fun project to be involved in as it had few rules, it was a small size so fast to produce, fun to raid your scrap bags for supplies and we didn't have to do the boring stuff like basting and binding.

The pencil drawing I originally drew for my robot design scared my son, every time he saw it he screamed and covered it up. It's safe to say my original drawing was terrifying to him so that robot and his robot army drawing was discarded. However I always go back to my original ideas and I couldn't get past wanting to make a robot. Then the first few pictograms started to be posted on the Bernina Corporate Blog and people were adding meaning and emotional depth to their work instead of just making something fun.

So suddenly me wanting to create a robot seemed silly, however I stuck with it and knew I would eventually be able to communicate something with it. I had recently purchased a piece of yellow leather, I like the smell, soft texture and the shade of yellow. The yellow seemed to stand out great on the blue and I liked the different textures together so I knew my robot was going to be yellow leather. As I played with the different fabrics I had, hand painted and unique, I thought about how I wanted to show the exposed wiring of the robot and an idea began to form. I thought of the phrase "wired differently" in reference to people with autism. My 4yr old son is autistic so my life revolves around autism. And then I knew what I wanted to say with my pictogram.

Title: WIRED

Autism Awareness – Wired differently but just as loveable

Yes people with autism do weird things, sometimes really weird! But they have just as much love to give as neurotypical people. They have feelings and hopes, the desire for friends and understanding, talents and difficulties, all the things others have but yes they are wired differently. Many parents in the autism community have to come up with ways of explaining to their autistic children how they are different to their peers, they liken it to the difference between a MAC and a PC. Both are computers, both perform the same functions but they think & work differently. This analogy is easy for today’s technology loving children to understand.

My pictogram man multiplied and turned into a woman with pants. He became Mother and child robots, me with my son.

I made the background an urban landscape at night as I like the city and night time (not nightlife anymore, just night time) The dodecahedrons are sculptures in my urban landscape and also because dodecahedrons are awesome, am contemplating tattooing them all over me, and no Nan! I don't care if you don't like tattoos! It's not the 1900's anymore.

The materials I used were: Wool Felt, Leather, Cotton Fabric, Thread, Lumiere Metallic Paints, Fabrico Fabric Markers, Steam-A-Seam and the visors are a stiff PVC type fabric.

Thanks to Bernina International AG Steckborn and Madeira for sponsoring the project.

Also here is the link to my original (and worded differently) post on the Bernina Corporate Blog -

#fabric #autism #artquilting #bernina #felt #pictogram #robot

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