There are middens all around Broulee Island on the south coast of New South Wales. Over the centuries fires lit again and again cause a permanent colour change in the rock as the silcrete stones turned from greyish ochre to a terracotta red.
They lie as mute stone circles - bleached and greyish broken shells, pitted like old tombstones. Then the grey, raw umber and ochre silcrete hearthstones, then the red stones at the heart - still glowing with a ghost of old heat.
The text on the quilt is not really meant to be read - just as history cannot be read from these sites at a glance - but needs some inner knowledge. I wanted it to feel like a shimmer of heat or smoke above the heat stones - smoke that leads to the source of a fire, or heat that comes from it.
For those who need to know, it says:
"In the middens which are scattered down the NSW coastline the silcrete stones have turned red from years of heat and fire. Tribes travelled the edge of the sea and carried their Hearthstones."