Monday, December 6, 2010

FFFC # 50 - Winter Crows

Above is my quilt for the FFFC October Challenge which was Challenge #51. The challenge was to write or select a Haiku poem and then create a quilt to illustrate the poem. I made a pretty liberal interpretation of the poem I selected. My poem was written by Basho, a famous Japanese poet.

A Desolate Scene
The end of autumn
And some crows
Perched upon a withered branch.

I found this poem in a book which I have had since childhood called Little Pictures of Japan. The book is mainly illustrated poems, some Haiku but some not, with a few short stories, mainly folk tales from Japan.

Before I even started sketching this design I went looking for reference photographs. Some of trees I found in photos I have been making over the past few years. For the crows I found several different photos on-line that I combined to create my drawings.

Below is the drawing I ended up with for the branch that the birds would be "sitting" on. Though I decided that one crow wouldn't be sitting, but coming in for a landing. I fell in love with the landing crow image and just had to use it.

The next image is a composite of 4 in-process photographs that I took of the making of this quilt. First is the layered background fabric with the tree limb templates laying on top. The background fabric is from a large piece of Skydye fabric that I had in my stash. Probably purchased at Houston Quilt Festival several years ago, and it was the perfect fabric for this quilt.

The next image shows the tree branch templates ironed onto the grey batik I used for the tree branch. The next image is of the top after I had machine appliqued the branch and the crow images to the top. The last image shows the top after I had done the machine quilting, but before I finished the hand embroidery/embellishments to add the crow legs and feet, and to quilt the crow bodies to the background. I used pearl cotton for those embellishments and King Tut quilting thread to quilt the background. The tree branches are not quilted which gives them a sort of 3-D look since they puff up a bit. My next step was to add the binding and sew that down. Then I added the 3 dried leaves and the branch that the leaves were attached to. This branch was done using pearl cotton. The leaves were machine stitched down.

There was an additional step that I don't have any pictures of, that was adding shading to the tree branches using Shiva paint sticks. The shading was done after I had attached the fabric to the background but before I attached the crows. I used a stiff stencil brush and was careful to not get the paint on the background fabric. The paint was allowed to dry for a couple of days then I heat set it with a hot iron. The crow fabric is actually the back side of some black print fabrics that I had in the stash. I didn't want the visual distraction that the print side would have given so I used the back.

At this point I am not sure how I feel about it, I am just happy that it is done. I am sure that in a few days I will have some ideas of things I should have changed. In the meantime comments are welcome.