Saltwater Crocodile bound for Melbourne

Stevie by Susan Carlson

Arriving on a Qantas flight into Melbourne this week is a 6 metre saltwater crocodile, direct from Maine, USA.

Stevie, as the saltie is affectionately known, will be the star attraction in the Quilt Show at the Australasian Quilt Convention.

USA tutor Susan Carlson

Susan Carlson, guest tutor at AQC, is the creator of Stevie, a life sized collaged and quilted image of a saltwater crocodile, named in a tribute to Steve Irwin.

Taking roughly two years to complete ‘Crocodylus Smylus’ (the quilt’s official name) was interrupted by travel for work and ‘life’. However, when Susan was invited to attend a show at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, her motivation to finish the project reached a new level.

Susan says, “Stevie debuted (along with my rhino quilt ‘Tickled Pink’) in the animal inspired art quilt exhibit, ‘From Insects to Elephants’, at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts.”

“Stevie will then accompany me in April 2016 to her homeland, when I teach at the AQC in Melbourne, Australia.”

Dixie Dingo Dreaming by Susan Carlson
Dixie Dingo Dreaming by Susan Carlson


Susan is also a quilting teacher of Harpswell and well-known for her fabric collage depictions, as they tend to focus on endangered or extinct animals. Some of her other pieces include an Indian rhino, a dodo bird and a Costa Rican golden toad however none of her projects have come close to ‘Stevie’.

Tickled Pink by Susan Carlson
Tickled Pink by Susan Carlson

Carlson says ‘Crocodylus Smylus’ was inspired by her son’s nature encyclopedia, which was a favourite bedtime read.

“One article on salties said that these crocs grow to an average of twenty feet long,” Susan says. “It was a fact that always stuck with me.”

You can catch the giant saltwater crocodile at the 2016 Australasian Quilt Convention, April 14 – 17 at Royal Exhibition Building Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, where she will be displayed for four days before returning to the USA.

By Ayden Evans

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