I am pleased to share my latest work, Jack in the Pulpit, as part of my ongoing series of art quilts The Woods.
Arisaema triphullum is a favorite wild plant, and is native to Pennsylvania. The plants have an interesting life cycle—when young, their flowers are male, but after several years, if conditions are good and the plant has built up reserves, it starts producing female flowers.
The flower, technically a spadix, is the “Jack”, and the spathe, or curved hood, is the “Pulpit” They can vary widely in coloration, from pale to boldly striped, and are generally hidden beneath the three leaved foliage. They are pollinated by flies, and produce cool looking bright red seed pods.
I have a volunteer clump of them that moved up from the woods into my currant bed, where I’ve let them do their thing. They got huge, and produced dark maroon red striped spathes. I took a lot of pictures one year when they were particularly fine, then things progressed, as they often do, and I started making prints and contemplating a suitable quilt. It took me several years to make the cyanotype prints, and then the heliographic prints, because I didn’t want to stress the plant by harvesting too many leaves at once.
This is a large quilt, five feet high by six feet wide, and there’s a lot going on, as befits a large and complex plant. I used a wide variety of silks, and some vintage cottons of extremely high quality, and the total effect is very vibrant and glowing.
To track this back as a work in progress, click the Jack in the Pulpit tab on the right sidebar, or click here.
An image from Jack in the Pulpit is featured in the current (March 2014) issue of American Quilter magazine, to accompany a profile article about me, “The Hand of the Maker”, written by Marjorie Russell. The issue is now on its way to subscribers, and will be on newsstands on February 4th. Please stay tuned for more images and information!