Friday, May 3, 2013


Among the packing for our move, the cleaning for possible buyers, and the decision making, I have made time for fabric--and the proof is in the local challenge piece I finished--well, the facing is not sewn down yet, but you won't notice that. The theme this time was "creatures," and I finally settled on one of my favorite subjects--butterflies.  But, for a long time, a subcategory of butterflies has fascinated me: caterpillars. I have always loved the little surprise of finding a brightly colored and intriguingly patterned little critter crawling up a stem or leaf and, while some are clearly pests and wear out their welcome very fast, it is worth sharing some parsley, dill, tomato or milkweed leaves with others. So I have been photographing them for a while and wondering how I could abstract them into a quilt.

When the challenge came up, I decided that this was the time to give it a first try. I had also been wanting to revisit using photos in a quilt. I decided on a Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, described as "charismatic" by one photographer, here shown chomping away on my dill.

For the background, I took several photos of some parsley, another favorite of this little guy. In manipulating these in Photoshop, I liked what happened when I applied "Colored Pencil" to the original, but the idea of movement, change, narration in the piece began to grow in my mind's eye so I decided to combine the original with the manipulated version and then place references to the caterpillar between panels of parsley. I printed the photos on EQ Printables Cotton Satin, took a deep breath and began to cut. And here is what I came up with:

I was going to create the yellow dots with a resist but one try convinced me that this was not the time to work on discovering how to get a pure solid black so I opted for commercial black with the yellow octagons fused on.

For obvious reasons, I named this "Metamorphosis"--a big name for a piece that measures only 9 x 14 inches. But it also honors the transition I am going through.  Time will only tell whether I turn out to be a butterfly or a beetle but whatever the outcome it certainly is an adventure.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

I am linking this post with Nina-Marie's blog.


Sylvia said...

Glad you were able to squeeze in fabric time. Moving is a big job! I love this piece!

straythreads said...

you captured the spirit of the caterpillar perfectly the horizontal yellow makes me think of their stinky yellow feelers.

Heather Pregger said...

This is stunning! I'm amazed that you can create with all of the chaos of moving...

I'm on the lookout for swallowtail caterpillars on my dill, too. Haven't seen any yet.