Caro Higgs – Music

All in the Mind

Inspiration: Words and music combined with the local coastline formed the basis for this piece of work.

The sea has a music of its own and I often have tunes which turn in my head. I did some research for sea linked music and fell on the Otis Redding and Steve Cropper song ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” which I couldn’t get out of my head. The song is about the Bay of San Francisco but my life is on the edge of the Bay of Aiguillon, very different but over time images came to mind. I couldn’t get the tune out of my head…

At the end of a walk one day I persuaded three friends to sit on a bench and stare out to sea, it was on the edge of a small port across the bay from home as the light was beginning to fade. The song describes the ships rolling in and out of the dock; the sea often has many shadows created by the waves and it is not difficult to let the imagination run… The word ‘ships’ evokes the idea of old galleons which tie in with the history of this area so I have created them as shadows. The lines of the music are the quilting lines and the notes are ‘v’s flying over the surface.

The fabrics used are mainly hand painted with a few commercial scraps and there is a mix of hand and machine stitching. The sea is created with two layers of cotton organdie, the ships cut in lino were printed on to the base layer and the sea is layered over the top. I have intentionally written the music in stitch with threads which are not too dominant, I wanted the music to be present but to drift across the water on the breeze. The edge has a small black cotton binding to frame the moment in time.

All in the Mind

Close up view:

All in the Mind; detail

  1. I can hear the sea music here, Caro. Perfect capture of the atmosphere!

  2. To me this is a very emotional piece. It reminds me sitting alone on the shore and listening to it at the difficult time. Great idea, well executed.


    I like how you have created the sea, with 2 layers of organdie, it gives a nice transparency to the surface. Very peaceful piece

  4. I love to listen to the music waves make on the beach and Caro this is a great tribute to the song and your region.

  5. Music of the sea, you always surprise me with your thoughts and how you translate them into a quilt, just love the way you work. The sea and its movement, your friends looking over it, all is comparing to the song and creates new music!

  6. “Dock of the Bay” is one of my all-time favorite songs. I love how it leaves one with a feeling of melancholy.Your quilt does exactly that with its portrayal of this lovely sea scene, so peaceful.

  7. A lovely translation of the song. I really like the ships in the mist as they sail in the past. So nice how you did the sea with two layers of organdie.

  8. studiociboulette

    I love listening to the music of the docks at the sea, it is very soothing to me and your quilt reflects that quite nicely with your choice of colors and transparencies. Beautiful!

  9. I too love that song and your depiction captures the feeling of peaceful contemplation.I love the way that you have incorporated the music and the notes into the quilting so that it is an integral part pf the piece. Well done

  10. What a peaceful scene you have created here. I particularly like the shadowy ships and the hand stitched details.

  11. Using just the primary colors to create this piece gives it a serene feeling of peace and quiet, with the music of the waves at some distance. The idea of the old galleons in lino, covered with organdie is very effective. Well done.

  12. What a unique take on music and very well thought out design. Love the techniques you used to create a calm, quiet and peaceful composition of your friends overlooking the dock and how you incorporated the illusion of the ships along with the musical quilting. Well done!

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