With that thought, the whole idea popped into my head so quickly that I am a little afraid I must have seen something like it in a book.
Quite often on my walks I find these cocoons fallen out of oak trees. Close up, the intricacy and luster of their strands is amazing, and I have written more about them here.
|Close-up of strands.|
One time I was lucky enough to find one unhatched, and kept it in the house until it broke out so I could discover what species it was.
|I was also thinking about stitching the design of his antennae into the corners of the quilt.|
I have some big pieces of vintage tussah silk that I bought years ago at an antique shop. Tussah is defined as "a strong, coarse light brown silk produced by various undomesticated Asiatic silkworms," in Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles. I love its sandy texture and strength. For this quilt, I dyed some of it with Jacquard silk paints and Dyna-flow paints, but left some its natural color.
Then I mixed in Thai silk and Burma silk which I get every year from a fair trade booth at the International Quilt Festival.
|Silk from Spirit of the Artisan. Thai silk on the top, Burma silk on the bottom.|
Originally I planned to stitch some of the cocoons onto the quilt, to do a lot of stitching with silk thread, and maybe even to add some embellishments made from old silk scarves. But as I worked, I just loved the contrast between the types of silk so much, subtle though they are, that I didn't want to add anything. I just wanted it to invite viewers to touch it and feel the difference between the nubby tussah silk and the slubby lustrous silk.
|Tussah and Taffeta (maybe not strictly silk taffeta, but it makes a good title).|
|The lighter blue is dyed tussah, the dark plum is Thai silk, and the shiny rose is Burma silk.|
So even though our local cocoons and moths were my inspiration, they did not make it into this quilt!
|The cocoon inspiration on the quilt corner.|