Monday, May 23, 2016

Sandhill Crane Nest Art Quilt Part One

I'm in the countdown towards my shared art show with Wilson Cady, who is an avid birder.  I asked for permission to make a sandhill crane art quilt using his photos as my inspiration.  So this quilt is a nod to his photography, while keeping within my series of imagined nests.

Sandhill cranes photo by Wilson Cady

A little background: The first time that I saw a Sandhill crane, I had no idea what I'd seen.  There were two of them in an open field inside of Grand Tetons National Park.  As my husband and I approached them on our hike, they took off, so we just barely got a glimpse of them.  Later on, we saw them in a marshy area and the picture we got was so blurry by the time it was blown up, that we weren't sure what it was.  All we knew was that they were big, had long necks, and had red on their heads.   Later on, we figured out that we'd seen a pair of Sandhill cranes.  OK enough about the bird, onto the nest art quilt.

I sketched up a few ideas, traced a bird from Wilson's photo and then flipped and enlarged it in Photoshop.  I decided to make this piece twice the size of my other nest art pieces.  Partly because the bird is so large, and partly because I have a bigger machine to quilt with now!

Rough sketch

The fibers for the nest included fancy yarn, shredded fabric, felted wool, raw alpaca fleece, bias binding, vintage piping and thread.  I sandwiched the fibers between a layer of organza and a layer of gray tulle, then lightly stitched them together.  This nest is huge, and I made it as a big rectangle to trim to size later.

Fibers being laid down

Nest after sewing the layers together

I often find a great background fabric already in my stash.  I'm not sure where I bought this one, but it works.  I loosely placed other fabrics on top to get an idea of what the background might become.  Here is a progress shot showing the loosely placed materials.  At this point in my design process, I'm never quite sure how it's going to get sewn together.  What method would you use for this background?

Here are the baby birds and the adult crane after the pieces were fused together.

Sandhill Crane adult

Sandhill Crane babies

I hope you like it so far!