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Slender Billed Curlew Part 2

 

This is the second piece based around the  plight of the Slender billed Curlew.  I rarely do two pieces on one bird in such quick succession, but this story fascinated me and I wanted to experiment with a few techniques and improve the story-telling in my backgrounds.

I initially made the first curlew as a ‘show’ piece to take to galleries and talks but very quickly someone approached me about buying it, I was over the moon and decided to start a second study.  You can see the earlier piece here.

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Above and below, you can see the bird pieced with early stitching.  I increased the use of painting with fabric paints, adding the more intricate details with a very fine brush.

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Below, replacing/adding additional layers of fabric to abdomen area before painting details as guide for stitching.

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The previous piece successfully incorporated maps of the areas that had lead to this birds demise within a stone it was standing on.  The maps had told a powerful story and had, as I hoped caused people to ask questions about what the piece meant and the relevance of the countries illustrated. For this second study I had an idea of the maps building up the birds reflection and so I  sketched out the reflection and fitted the areas into each individual piece.  This bird is almost certainly extinct so the temporary nature of a reflection seemed a suitable way of telling the story.

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Below, stitching the backing fabric, reflection and edging ready to be stitched to mountboard.

 

 

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The finished piece off to the framers.  I am hoping to show this at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August on the Contemporary Quilters West stand and also at The West Country Quilt & Textile show at UWE in September.

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These pieces were inspired by Horatio Clare’s book ‘Orison for a Curlew’, a book I highly recommend reading if you are interested in nature and our human impact on the planet.

 

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Starling – ‘Chorus Line’

Murmurations are one of nature’s wonders, as they pass overhead you have to stop, listen and watch.  Living near the Somerset levels they are part of our seasonal cycle.

Starlings are not a particularly popular bird, greedy on our feeders, intimidating smaller ‘prettier’ birds.  However, the beauty of their feathers can be seen in bright sunshine, iridescent, detailed and glossy.   As a large group they fascinate us, reconnecting us with the natural world on our doorstep.

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To read more about Murmurations click here.

The beautiful photograph above taken by Carl Jones was the starting point for this piece.   Carl takes the most wonderful photographs and I would like to thank him for giving me permission to use this photograph for inspiration.  A quick watercolour allowed me to consider the colour and textures of the bird ready to start selecting suitable fabrics.

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The startling feathers contain so many colours, the fabric choice produced quite a variety.  The outline sketch allowed me to colour block the image ready for fabric selection.

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Fabrics selected and cut to size, the bird started to emerge.

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We get thousands his starlings in this area and one of the ways I regularly see them is gathering in huge numbers on overhead wires – ready to take off at a moments notice.

Trying to capture this scene took a few attempts but this final version started with a backing fabric which contained waves of block colours and tiny dots – similar to a murmuration.  I then painted and stitched the tiny details of the birds on the wire.

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The tiny details at the end of the starlings feathers required lots of hand stitching on top of the free motion embroidery.  My hand stitching skills are gradually improving with each piece and make a really enjoyable break form the machine work.

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Below, he is almost complete, just the legs to add and final stitching details when applying him to the background.  I am awaiting the finished scanned and colour balanced image but will post as soon as I receive it.

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He is hopefully the third of four pieces to be shown at some of the Contemporary Quilters West exhibitions this year, to read more about visiting these three venues click here.

Thanks for reading.

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Unfolding Stories 3 – CQW Exhibitions

For the past 3 years I have been a member of the Contemporary Quilters West.

We are a group of contemporary and art quilters based in the South West and Wales.  The group is affiliated to the the British Quilters’ Guild and many of us are members of the internet based Contemporary Quilt Group.  We meet six times a year in Saltford, between Bath and Bristol, to discuss ways of increasing our professionalism and promoting our work.

Every two years we hold a major exhibition which presents work from our members under the ongoing title ‘Unfolding Stories’.

Each artist presents a small collection of new work, capturing a point in time in their own creative story.  The exhibition is the unfolding story of their work.

You can read more about the artists here.

Our next exhibition
 Harbour House Gallery, Kingsbridge, Devon.

Contemporary Quilters West Unfolding Stories 3 Exhibition Poster Harbour House, Kingsbridge TQ7 1JD

Click to enlarge
The exhibition can then seen at:
Festival of Quilts, 9th – 12th August 2018

West Country Quilt & Textile Show, UWE Bristol,
​30th Aug – 1st September 2018

We look forward to seeing you!