The process behind one of my very large wall hangings
The client saw my Root Domain quilt and decided I
could do what she had in mind for her home’s back entrance. She wanted a very
large wall hanging to cover the door and windows in cold weather, but also
wanted the front of the hanging to portray the prairie landscape in the
context of her own view.
(Her yard is a certified wildlife habitat and has native prairie grasses.) She
asked for the landscape to look realistic, feel ‘open’, be late afternoon in
the summertime, and be full of life.
Below is the rough sketch (or bozzetto) of the concept. Many animals (mammals,
birds, insects, reptiles) will be added, each telling their story. The large
trees on the sides, and foliage at the top, are meant to give the feel of an
archway. The ground is cut away primarily to show the extensive root systems
of prairie grasses.
The view from her backyard, overlooking the largest lake in Wisconsin
The wall hanging as of December 1, pinned up to my design wall. The
fabrics toward the bottom are not that dark, but are brown and reds. The whole
thing is a bit larger than the finished size. The sky is painted; water is
painted but will have thread lines added for reflections and waves; distant
and midground trees essentially finished but shadows yet to be added beneath
them; bark on large side trees essentially finished but leaves missing and
trunks just pinned on to background. Foreground and belowground are pinned in
place but not sewn. One animal finished (chipmunk, which will be hiding from
a fox). All grasses and flowers yet to be added. And of course there will be
quilting too. I am working on the animals now, which will be made from a
variety of materials and techniques.
Some details of the work in progress:
Trees are all fabric and thread.
Sky is all fabric paint.
15 December 2005
Most of the mammals are at least started. They are primarily made from thread
stitched to a base fabric. The chipmunk and badger are reverse-appliqued into
soil fabrics; ‘roots’ are yarns hanging into the holes.
The fox, long-tailed weasel, cottontails, and squirrel are nearly finished and
just pinned up in these images.
I wasn’t satisfied with the first crouching cottontail, so I tried again.
5 January 2006
Largest trees attached, twigs and leaves sewn
Thread sewn across water; three colors were used with the lightest below the sun.
Squirrel attached (and more thread added for details.)
More animals are waiting to be sewn on
26 January 2006
Most of the animals shown in the image above have been sewn in, and the
flowers and prairie grasses sewn. The area nearest the lake (lighter green)
has painted areas of flowers. The trees will eventually cast shadows.
A bit more light and dark paint added to the water.
2 February 2006
Prairie grass roots run deep. Each of the three grass species has its own kind
of yarn (two of which I painted to get a good color). The flowers and
shortgrass have very shallow roots right at the top of the ‘cut-away.’ Insect
and crawly things are painted.
Next - tree shadows and a few more details. Then the quilting!
20 February 2006
Shadows for the furthest trees are painted in, along with shadowed flower
colors. The midground trees have black netting for subtler shadows. The
quilting is finished, the lining is added - it is finished! Now to take it to
the professional photographer, and ship it
to the new owner.