October 31, 2009

Today's Feature: Skunk Cabbage and Possum

In honor of Halloween, today I am featuring my quilt with the skull imagery, "Skunk Cabbage and Possum". It's one of the dozen major works that will be exhibited in my solo show at the Isadore Gallery in Lancaster, PA next month, opening on the 5th, with the reception on Friday, November 6th from 5-9.
I'm being a bit misleading to tie this in with Halloween, as it's not meant to be scary or macabre. I think of it as a optimistic work, about rebirth and regeneration. The artifacts in the cyanotype prints, a skunk cabbage leafs and a possum skull, were found on a hike in very early spring. Skunk cabbage leaves are some of the first to emerge in the woods, growing in damp spots near a source of water. As for the skull, I like to think that the possum had a long and happy sojourn on this earth until it was its time to shuffle off the mortal coil, and that its descendants are now shuffling about the same paths and climbing the same trees and eating pawpaws when they can find them.
For this work, I first photographed the skull, from the top and from the inside, and the leaf, and after some digital manipulation I printed the images onto transparency sheets. I then used the transparencies as photo negatives in making the prints onto a silk/cotton blend. This process captures a lot of the detail in the artifacts. I used very close echo quilting to emphasize the edges.

For the top panel, I repurposed a vintage embroidered table runner, cutting, rearranging, painting, and beading it. There are vintage fabrics in the piecing as well, including that nifty fabric with the white ground and the rows of green motifs (positioned above the main prints) that was the leftovers from a house dress my mother made for herself in the 50's.
"Skunk Cabbage and Possum" has been exhibited in both art venues and quilt shows, including Sacred Threads.

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