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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Habitat : Species #3 - the making of

In 2013 I made a quilt called Habitat : Species, for SAQA's Earth Stories project. The exhibition of 25,  size 72" by 72", international quilts depicting positive earth stories, was based on portfolio and project-based applications. The exhibition has been touring since 2014 throughout US university museums and galleries. It is a fascinating show, and extremely successful.  The tour is due to finish in June 2017, when the quilts will be returned to the makers.

My quilt is based on Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve in the Avalon Marshes, Somerset Levels, a protected area where habitats are created to attract and protect endangered species. I hope to exhibit it at the Reserve when it comes back - they would love to have it.

A second, smaller 'lead-in' piece, of the same name as the main quilt, was also included in the tour.

As I said in a previous post, this Boxing Day, a beautiful sunny day, I went on a family walk in the reserve, where my daughter is Reserve Warden, and I was overwhelmed by the light and the beauty of the place, and took numerous photos.  From those I created Habitat : Species #3:  Migrants, Returnees and Settlers. Some of the photos are in my previous post about it.

When I came home, I searched for fabrics that evoked the colours of that day. I arranged them on my design wall.

There are many birches in the reserve, so I represented them with light coloured lines.  There are reed beds, open water, meadows, and more, and I tried to evoke all of them in my quilt. Here all the sections have been stitched together and the top is being stretched by pinning to the design wall.  Stretching it overnight makes the top much flatter. You will see that there have been several changes and additions in the arrangement of the sections, compared with the fabrics on the wall, above.

There are paths for visitors, so I tried inserting dark lines between sections, but I felt they broke the connection between areas and the relationship between colours, so I decided against it.

I quilted it quite densely, as I usually do.

Finally I added the names of several of the species inhabiting the reserve, using fused appliqué letters. Those are not quilted.

I'm pleased with the final product. The colour palette is different from the work I've been doing recently, and I find it appealing.

I've been intending to post this much earlier, but time and computer problems delayed me. But I'm still keeping up with my New Year resolution of blogging regularly, even if I do it less often than I intended. Maybe next time I will post a photo of the original Habitat : Species quilt.


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