The idea for this fiber object came to me one morning while porch-sitting with a book. It was a gorgeous day, but I was poring intently, with all my focus, on the book in hand. Surprisingly, I no longer remember what I was reading. The probable cause of this memory lapse was the very thing that intruded upon my thoughts. A catbird had begun an insistent and virtuosic song. The sound tore my mind from my book and into the present moment. Looking about, I failed to spot him. So instead of continuing to search with my eyes, I closed them and sat back in my chair.
Pretending that I possessed synesthesia, I imagined what that birdsong might look like, if it were visible. There were deep chortles and murmurs, but also squeaks, shrieks and ascending melodies. It went on and on. And on. Eventually the catbird flew off.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal: “Sky-inspired painted background. Reverse applique to suggest an unseen bird. Throaty -chortling purples, warm tones high pitch trills – bright white squeaks. dashed gestural lines to suggest direction of pitch. Parallel wavy lines for a musical staff.”
All very poetic. But I want to make a piece of visual art, and as such it must have form.
This week I got underway. Since my fabric paints were out, I started with the background. On a piece of white quilting cotton I stroked colors that I thought would make a good sky at daybreak – pale blue, violet, peach and gold. I achieved this rather startling canvas:
What sort of a sky has leaf and dark green in it? None I’d ever seen. I was prepared to set it aside and start again. But on second thought, I chose to continue with this background. The unconventional sky colors can represent the effect of birdsong on the air. Here is my bright background after it dried.
Next comes the sketch. I put the catbird’s silhouette in the lower left.
Now the hard part. Searching my fabrics for the colors mentioned in the journal, I found some purples and some brassy bright scraps. Also a few interesting prints. Most of yesterday was occupied with choosing, cutting and attaching fusible to the back of my chosen fabrics. Here is what this applique quilt looked like at the end of the day.
While I am keen to get on with this work, I need some supplies. So I will have to pause pending a visit to the craft store.