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.
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.
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.