Margaret Blank – Nature – One Step Ahead of the Gulls

“Nature” is another broad theme (as was “Contrast” a few months ago) – and here on the Central Alberta prairies, nature is expressed in a vast and wide-open way.  The skies are huge – even above the trees – and the land is rich and rolling.  Humans share this land with a variety of critters: birds of all kinds, coyotes, gophers, porcupines, skunks and white-tailed deer, to name a few.

green tractor

I took the above photo, which is the inspiration for my piece, in the spring of 2009.  This field is at the end of a street near my home, and I’ve used it as the background for many of my pieces, particularly my miniatures.  For the “Nature” theme, I wanted to express the expanse of prairie, trees and sky, so made the tractor and harrow quite small and off to one side of the slightly off-centre.


One Step Ahead of the Gulls - 800 pix

One Step Ahead of the Gulls


I then added some gulls feeding from the newly-harrowed part of the field, on the worms and insects disturbed by the harrow as it went by. As you can see, the farmer is keeping just “One Step Ahead of the Gulls”.

Materials:  commercial cottons, hand-dyed cotton, naturally-dyed silk, recycled over-dyed sari silk ribbon, fusible web, water-soluble stabilizer (dissolved), cotton batting, cotton thread, over-dyed cotton embroidery floss, water-soluble coloured pencils.

Techniques: fusible appliqué, thread painting, hand-stitch, fabric painting, machine quilting.

One Step Ahead - Gulls Detail

One Step Ahead – Gulls Detail


One Step Ahead - Hand-stitch Detail

One Step Ahead – Hand-stitch Detail


One Step Ahead - Tractor Detail

One Step Ahead – Tractor Detail

  1. Like your interpretation of nature Margaret, here it isn’t gulls that chase the tractor but parrots.

    • LOL! Parrots wouldn’t survive in the wilds of the Canadian Prairies…but I can picture them chasing a harrow, and that brings a smile. Thanks!

  2. Amazing piece of work, so fresh.

  3. Chantal Guillermet

    When I opened the page I immediately knew which one was your quilt ! so realistic & Canadian !

  4. Love it!!

  5. joanbrailsford

    What a lovely feeling of open space and a brilliant interpretation

  6. Thank you all so very much. It’s wonderful to know that I caught the spaciousness of the Alberta prairies the way I aimed to do. 🙂 I appreciate your support!

  7. Dear Margaret, what a great subject for the challenge, it reminds me of the ploughed paddocks in my area. Great work. Cheers

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