When the word 'Nature' was drawn as the subject of our first Endeavourers Quilt theme, I was more than a little daunted. My impulse was to try to make a small quilt that would somehow encapsulate a sense, or a least an aspect, of the natural world as a whole and yet it is so vast!
And I really wanted to make something inspiring and uplifting (or at least cheerful) for this first reveal (and I apologise to my fellow Endeavourers for failing in that because because this first reveal seems like the most inopportune time for a sad post) but, truth to tell, although I love being surrounded by countryside and the starry owl filled nights and the ever changing seasons and the antics of the wild creatures, Nature as a whole, with its current mass extinctions and the degradation of the natural environment, fills me with concern.
How this led to a bear baiting analogy is something for which I can't altogether account but some recurring thoughts that kept coming into my mind were an image of the world in photos taken from space, the phrase 'Don't poke the bear!' and this stanza from The Burning of the Leaves by (Robert Laurence-Binyon)
"They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring."
So I decided to make a bear as globe-shaped as possible using some map print fabric and I originally considered having some people with a stick to suggest that when provoked to a point Nature can be expected to roar back.
And I added a tear for the albatrosses.
I hope that one day I will be able to make a sequel to this quilt with a happier bear...and I'm sure my future Endeavourer quilts will be happier as I'm really not in the habit of making sad quilts!
Making the Quilt
I hand quilted my background from the back using the stripes in this fabric as a guide and using ordinary sewing thread.
I used a piece of black lined from and old dress for the front and the quilted gave a subtle textured effect.
For the bear, I cut a head and a body shape in scraps of Soft and Stable and basted my print fabric onto them. This was an experiment and seemed to work quite well but the flatness and print made the bear-ness of it very indistinct.
So I marked with a frixon pen and stitched over the features in thick lines with two strands of dark brown embroidery thread. Then I slip stitched it to the background adding more stuffing and, finally, went around the embroidery with some lines of needle sculpting using using a thin cream sewing thread. The tear is crochet using six strands of embroidery thread.
Thank you to everyone who is joining in with this challenge. Although my offering, this quarter, is not very cheery, I'm very happy that we are all sewing along together and I'm very much looking forward to seeing all the other Nature Quilts and, of course, to the next theme, Janine :)