The idea for this quilt was floating around in my brain for a long time before it actually came to be. Slicing the background into three panels was inspired by an advertisement in a magazine. For this quilt, I wanted this Egyptian garden to be my own rather than a variation of something from a tomb or temple. I drew my own for papyrus in the left panel; and pink coneflowers drawn in a geometric shape on the right; and a heron standing in the center is a version of the bird in my quilt "On the Nile." Of course the wonderful little pond that includes fish and water lilies adds more visual interest and color below the three panels.
I began by painting a 1.5 yard piece of cotton, sky blue at the top and brown at the base. The finished piece could only be as wide as the hand dyed fabric cut into three panels plus strips sewn between them.
The quilt really came together when the bird was pinned up on the background! My first idea was to have two birds in the center but there just wasnï¿½t room for a pair. Instead I added Ra, an Egyptian sun disk, above the middle panel to give light and warmth to the world.
After all the elements were fused in place, I spent a lot of time experimenting with ideas to make my embroidery more interesting than what I have done in the past. This effort has made a subtle difference in the surface. Look at the detail photos. I used more metallic thread than I have in the past.
The quilting adds interest especially to the middle three panels. The stitching is full of loops and spirals, and adds a realistic look to both the sky and in the water around the base of the papyrus.
One of the repeated motifs that I used is a long narrow peapod segment. It is a long narrow curved piece that is filled with a row of small circles imitating the look of peas in a pod. These pods are found in the center of many of the leaves and in the base of the papyrus umbels on the left portion of the quilt. It is repeated in the two light blue sky squares on the upper corners. I like the detail that this adds to the surface.
The border is quilted using coneflower shapes spaced around the inside edge. After a long period of thought I decided to bind the quilt with multiple red fabrics. In my search for fabric, I found a red batik that was perfect to complete my vision for this quilt, so I only needed to use one fabric. Wool batting.
To read more about the making of this quilt, refer to my blog.
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