I have entered a piece of work in the Crow Show at the Spririt Room. The theme of the show (maybe you guessed it already) is crows. Anything at all to do with crows. This is a show that is held every other year in Feb or March. I thought long and hard about just what kind of piece I wanted to create. The final work I entered is my third concept. My first 2 ideas just did not turn out right in the planning stages and I knew I would never be happy with them.

I decided to portray the playful side of crows. My final piece is that of 2 crows flying through the air playing with their “found treasures.” I started by drawing crows on paper to get the feel of the birds. After I had practiced birds several times, I drew them to actual size on paper and cut them out.

hand drawn crow

I then, transferred the crow to black fabric. I added a gray print fabric to delineate wings and a yellow beak.

crow on black fabric

The next thing I did was to thread paint the black wings and tail of the bird. I used a thread that I thought was true black, but turned out to have a slight blue tint. Great surprise as I wanted that little bit of blue/black color and had originally planned to go over the black in places with a blue–now I have it all in one thread. I then filled in the body of the crows with a looping design known as bananas in the quilt world. Next I thread painted the gray areas in the wings with a lightly colored taupe thread. This color can be argued as Mike thought it had a slight green tint until I used it on the crows, then he saw the taupe/grayish colors. Never argue colors with your spouse.

partial thread painted crow

Next it was time to move on to my longarm machine. The piece of fabric I used for the background of the crows is a piece of snow dyed fabric. Amongst the art quilt groups I belong to, snow dyeing has been all the rage this winter. Fabric is treated with soda ash, then scrunched, folded, tied (whatever you choose) and frozen. The frozen fabric is in a pan (bucket, jar etc. whatever is on hand) and packed with snow. Then dyes are squirted onto the snow. The snow and the fabric melt at different rates causing the dyes to absorb at different times. You don’t really know exactly how it will turn out until you rinse the dye out of the fabric. In the sky background for my crows, I used the colors, turquoise, brilliant blue and golden brown.

I loaded my background piece onto my longarm machine and attatched the crows. I used a method of faux trapunto on the birds, sewing them on with a raw edge applique technique.

appliqued crow

Next thing was to fill in the background. I did a type of swirling design which is my own take on a design called Mctavishing. It took me almost 8 hours to do this background fill-in.

close-up of background quilting

When the piece was completed, Michael helped me (ok he actually did it) attached the quilt to stretcher strips, adding a hanging wire. I had originally planned on taking the piece up to the office to have Michael take a professional photo of the finished piece, but he was in bed dying from some flu/cold bug. I took a photo of the piece while it was propped up on our dining room table. I had to fend off Lucas (one of the cats) as he was extremely interested this. Maybe he recognized birds? He’s so curious about the world, it’s hard to say what was going on in his head. Hopefully I can get a better picture of the final piece at a later date. The art opening is this evening and runs throught the end of the month.

Flight of Fancy completed