Susan Slesinger – Series #1 – Black and white

Cattails 1 Black and White

The inspiration for this landscape piece came from seeing cattails rising above snow and ice on the edges of ponds and lakes at Mont Orford, Quebec, Canada. They were one of the few plants to stay intact during the winter. They stood out regally in the winter landscape, and most of them remained straight, while a few had bent away from the wind or towards the sun. Cattails are a wild, sturdy plant which grow on the edge of lakes, ponds and marshes. They can reproduce rapidly. The parts under the water provide nourishment for small fish. The parts above the water, including the distinctive brown flower, provide food for birds and mammals. Native Americans ate most parts of the plant and used the leaves for waterproofing.
The background, foreground and pond were created from commercial black and white cotton prints, as were the bare tree trunks. I machine needle felted silk/Tencel fibres into a Burmese silk base to try to replicate the fuzzy appearance of the cattail plants. Metallic needlepoint yarn was couched with black thread to replicate the long spikes which are cattails most distinct characteristic. The more distant cattails were made from textured Burmese and Thai silk using needle felting without added roving to create texture.

It was extremely challenging to create depth and contrast with the restricted palette.

Techniques: Raw edge machine applique, needle felting, couching, machine quilting

Materials: Commercially printed cotton fabric, Burmese and Thai woven silk fabric, wool, silk and Tencel© roving, cotton batting, cotton and polyester threads, rayon and metallic needlepoint yarn.

Close up view:

Inspirational pictures



Landscape, winter, snow scape, ponds, landscape, raw edge applique, needle felting, couching, machine quilting, Canada, cattails, cotton, silk,

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: