Joan Brailsford – Country – Emblems

The Dipper

Inspiration: My chosen country’s flag, and its national bird

The country I have chosen is one that I visited many years ago, and would dearly love to visit again. During this year’s challenge I hope to feel as though I have visited ‘virtually’ again, by looking again at all aspects of the country.

The dipper is my chosen country’s national bird. It is found in uplands where there are fast-running streams, and it seeks its food by walking underwater on the river beds. Before submerging it perches on rocks in the middle of the rushing water, and it gets its name by the way it bobs up and down as it waits.  In addition to the bird, I have used the colours and configuration of one quadrant of the country’s flag to design the layout of the quilt.

I used white polycotton as my base fabric, and used transfer paints on the same fabric type to create the colours and patterns of the red and blue sections.  These were bonded to the base fabric leaving white borders to simulate the sections of the flag. I hand-stitched the shrub branches, the reeds and grasses and the ripples in the water. I appliqued the bird which made as a separate piece. Finally I used machine stitching to quilt the ‘sky’.

Have you guessed the country yet? The answer is below the pictures.

Detail views:


My country is ….. Norway


  1. How very creative, Joan! Of course I wouldn’t guess the name of the country as it is far away from what typical emblematic Norway looks like. But I love the idea of seeing Joan’s Norway, well done!

  2. Without your explanations, I would not have guessed it. I know little of Norway apart from Grieg’s Peer Gynt and the a-ha. I like your romantic vision. A well thought out, motivated and very well made quilt. Well done!

  3. A very delicate and dainty piece, I love dippers and didn’t realise they were the national bird of Norway so I was thrown off the scent. Great choice of colours with wonderful detail. Love it!

  4. I knew it it you as I recognized your style immediately ! but I had no idea about the national bird. I love how you have painted the background, colours are soft and your scene lovely.

  5. I didn’t guess the country but now I see it is a section of Norwegian flag. It is interesting how the blue stripe of the flag serves as water for the dipper. I love the softness in your design.

  6. Like the others ahead of me, I wasn’t able to guess your country. The dipper is an interesting little bird and you have done a great job of demonsgtrating this.

  7. I certainly did not guess Norway, but it is a beautiful designed quilt and very vibrant and catches the eye. Well done.

  8. I love how your flag colors are just acting as a natural background. It is a wonderful quilt. Very nice composition and like always beautiful hand stitching. Like all the others I didn’t guess your country, but am very much looking forward in learning more of Norway. Awesome work.

  9. I didn’t guess your country either. Love that dipper and your background is lovely. That it doubles up as part of the flag and background for the whole scene is so clever. Beautiful stitching! A beautiful quilt.

  10. I did recognise the colours of Norway but didn’t know about the dipper. You have a lovely composition here, great detail and beautifully stitched.

  11. I was wrong also. What a clever way to showcase your country using the quadrant of the flag and creating a symbolic scene of Norway. Lovely details and stitching, well done Joan!

  12. studiociboulette

    I love your little quilt, it is beautiful. The colors and the softness of the whole piece. I would not have guessed it was Norway because I don’t know anything about that country but now it makes me want to go. beautiful

  13. Such a great idea to use just a quarter of the flag! It is a great background for your lovely quilt. I love the colors and of course your hand stitching.

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