A New Week, my friends!
What did you make over the weekend? I'd love to see over on Instagram-- tag #stringandstoryweekend!
In June-ish this year, I began listening to Frances O'Roark Dowell's podcast, The Off-Kilter Quilt. Frances is an author and quilter. She often records her podcasts on her porch, and the sounds of the cicadas make my Southern heart feel right at home. Frances has a new book coming out this fall, her first quilting novel, Birds in the Air. As part of the unveiling of the book, Frances has been doing a series of "Birds in the Air" quilts (which I'm hoping to talk with her more about when she comes to Atlanta in September!).
It got me thinking-- how do I picture birds in the air? There's the image of songbirds fluttering, of birds of prey soaring, but I think the most beautiful flights I've ever seen have been Chattanooga's starlings. I don't know if Chattanooga has an unusually large population of starlings, but I know I saw large murmurations there far more frequently than I ever have elsewhere. The patterns and movements of a fast-changing bird-cloud are breathtaking and mesmerizing.
I'd already fallen in love with Alison Glass's Sunprints, so I ordered the 2015/2016 giant fat quarter bundle from her website, and pulled my fabrics from that. They are so.gorgeous. I love the rich colors, the visual interest, the movement and depth that these fabrics have all on their own.
Toward the end, as I chose a navy backing fabric with white birds on it, I suddenly realized that those birds also needed to be on the front as well. The quilt is made of half square triangles to create a "flying geese" effect, but I wanted more visual cues. I machine quilted swirls all over the quilt, bound it with the two navy fabrics, then got out some embroidery thread to add 6 birds, completing the multi-layer visual of a murmuration.
This quilt isn't perfect-- my points don't match in more places than I'd like, but I learned a lot about pressing seams and sewing precision. It was my first free-motioned quilt, so I know I need to make my stitches more even. But on the whole, I am thrilled with the result.
Thus, imagine my thrill when I took this quilt to a local gallery, and the owner challenged me to make a throw-size one for him to hang! So, I've begun Murmuration 2.0. Only finishing it will truly prove if it will be gallery worthy, but I hope to have that happy update in just over a month!
Keep creating this week, y'all! Leave comments here or on Instagram to promote conversation about quilting, creating in general, and the ways visual artists and quilters can create creative community together.