Margaret Blank – Botanics: Canola
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).
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:
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.