Sonia Ruiz – Flight

Flight of the Quetzal

Inspiration:  The Resplendent Quetzal as an important symbol in both Aztec and Mayan culture

The name quetzal is from Náhuatl quetzalli, “large brilliant tail feathers.  The Resplendent Quetzal is an important symbol in both Aztec and Mayan culture. The name is derived from the word quetzal, meaning “precious” or “sacred” in several Mesoamerican languages and is associated with the “snake god”, so it’s no surprise this bird was considered divine and viewed as the “god of the air.”  The long tail feathers of the resplendent quetzal in flight look like a serpent slithering through the air.

I designed the background as an abstract landscape and then machine thread sketched the quetzal, pyramid and jungle using free motion quilting with #50 so fine polyester threads, I used one dark bead for the eye and then did traditional matching binding.

Detail views:


  1. Love the movement in your work – the bird really flies!

  2. Maryte Collard

    Wonderful idea, and thank you for the lesson of history and culture! Love the texture!

  3. Love the way you created the background of this piece with all the details in it. And I learn things I never heard of, so nice. You worked it out in a nice and spiritual way!

  4. I love how your pieces are always related to your country, with landscapes and history.
    Very nice echo quilting that enhance your design.

  5. A beautiful image, and the bird is beautifully embroidered. The pieced background really speaks to me!

  6. Full of interest and a lovely interpretation of the theme. I like your colours and the thread painting is beautifully worked. Well done

  7. An interesting piece with great stitching. Well done.

  8. studiociboulette

    I love your Quetzal. It is a beautiful bird with a beautiful flight. Beautiful interpretation sonia.

  9. Very imaginative. Nice interpretation. The quilting makes your bird move. Well done!

  10. Interesting and fascinating choice of theme. The precious stitching and the quilting bring out the Quetzal well giving also the movement of the flight. Well done Sonia.

  11. I love how you always manage to keep the theme related to the Mexican culture. The Quetzal really speaks to me as a symbol and as the bird itself. I love the way how you have stitched it to the beautiful pieced background. Your quilting really complements the flight. Well done.

  12. Your background is very well done and the bird really flying. Bravo.

  13. The background is clever and the bird is clearly enjoying his flight. I must read more about these icons.

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