Margaret Blank – Botanics: Canola



Brassica rapa olifiera

When this topic was proposed, I immediately knew what I wanted to share.  Western Canada — at least my corner of it — is known for producing canola.  This grain is a derivative of “rapeseed”, and is used for creating cooking oil as well as margarine.

It’s known by its botanical name, Brassica rapa oliefera.  It begins as a bright spring green plant, turning yellow-green and then vibrant yellow gold when the flowers develop.  It is planted in fields both near my home and along the highways and bi-ways I travel regularly during the spring, summer and high summer.

I’d taken several close-up photos of this plant and then, by good fortune, I found a plant uprooted by the roadside, took it home and kept it in water while I worked on this piece.  I modelled a close-up of the plant shown in the illustration above, tracing it, enlarging it and then tracing the enlarged picture onto Paper Solvy (R).


(C) Gina Blank (2016)

I was inspired by a photo of canola in a field, taken by my daughter, a skilled amateur landscape photographer, as well as referring back to my own photos of similar scenes.  What never fails to enchant me is how these fields take us by surprise –going from brown to green to gold in a trice, or so it seems.




I must admit I turned to my ‘usual practice’ of creating a foundational landscape…into which I inserted the close-up of the botanical drawing of the plant, plus script reflecting the botanical name.

I chose a quilting design for the field that imitated the shape of the seed pod of the canola plant, using Superior Thread’s “King Tut” line in a variegated yellow/gold/green colour-way.

And so…I ended up with this creation:

  • Clockwise from left, first, a detail of the plant — created with stitch on Paper Solvy (R) and coloured with InkTense (R) pencils;
  • Second, a detail of stitching the botanical name; and third,
  • A photo of the entire piece.  Note the grain bins in the background…These too are plentiful in this part of the world.



And for a final photo of the piece in full:


“Canola: Brassica rapa oliefera” (c) 2016


Materials: hand-dyed and commercial cottons, cotton and polyester thread, fusible web, sari silk ribbon, Lutradur (R), acrylic paint, InkTense (R) pencils.

Techniques: fused applique, free-motion quilting; coloured pencils; hand-stitched facing.

  1. I love the subtle way how you incorporated the detailed plant and the botanical name. It truly is a “Margaret” piece and has your handwriting all over it. Well done.

  2. The yellow field reminds me of the fields of Yellow alongside the canals in the French country side. Yes, I agree this one came up with your name on it. I have noticed the plant name quilted in the yellow field too. A colourful choice of design colours.

  3. The colour is perfect and reminds me driving through the English countryside when it is in flower, it’s almost dazzling in its vibrance. I like the way that the detail is camouflaged.

  4. I love how you have introduced the design of the plant and its name into the landscape. A unique way to mix our theme “botanical” and yours “landscapes” Bravo !

  5. I love the beautiful yellow paddocks of ganola, a beautiful quilt and design. I just love the way you have incorproated the plant and name into the overall background. Bravo

  6. English quilter

    Now I know where canola oil comes from. I love the representational landscape with the layers of meaning worked into it. This is a very subtle way to illustrate botanical. The color is beautiful and you have captured the essence of the photos.

  7. Canola is a difficult plant as design, but you did this very well. The use of the variegated thread is perfect.


    I love to see how you translated the theme in a beautiful design. The way you put the details and the name in your quilt is quite amazing and the overall look is great. You managed to get the right yellow colour in it, that represents the flowers. Last May we went to the Netherlands and in the afternoon, we took the ferry from Oslo to Kiel in Germany. The snow was still in our garden when we left and when we approached the coast of Germany the next morning, it was amazing to see full spring, with all these beautiful yellow fields you describe. A lovely quilt.

  9. You have captured the vibrancy and cheerfulness of the fields wonderfully. We too have have fields of rapeseed, and I understand what you mean about them springing their colourful surprise on us. I like the way you have incorporated the detail into the foreground, and the addition of the grain bins to give the piece perspective. It really captures the landscape.

  10. This certainly captures the spring landscape. We have many fields like this in Suffolk – very bright and loved by bees.

  11. Interesting to use a landscape to interpret the theme. Nice stitching

  12. I love it, Margaret! I’m also fascinated with “ordinary” rural landscapes, which are so majestic. Great use of color and stitch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: