This is the second piece based around the plight of the Slender billed Curlew. I rarely do two pieces on one bird in such quick succession, but this story fascinated me and I wanted to experiment with a few techniques and improve the story-telling in my backgrounds.
I initially made the first curlew as a ‘show’ piece to take to galleries and talks but very quickly someone approached me about buying it, I was over the moon and decided to start a second study. You can see the earlier piece here.
Above and below, you can see the bird pieced with early stitching. I increased the use of painting with fabric paints, adding the more intricate details with a very fine brush.
Below, replacing/adding additional layers of fabric to abdomen area before painting details as guide for stitching.
The previous piece successfully incorporated maps of the areas that had lead to this birds demise within a stone it was standing on. The maps had told a powerful story and had, as I hoped caused people to ask questions about what the piece meant and the relevance of the countries illustrated. For this second study I had an idea of the maps building up the birds reflection and so I sketched out the reflection and fitted the areas into each individual piece. This bird is almost certainly extinct so the temporary nature of a reflection seemed a suitable way of telling the story.
Below, stitching the backing fabric, reflection and edging ready to be stitched to mountboard.
The finished piece off to the framers. I am hoping to show this at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August on the Contemporary Quilters West stand and also at The West Country Quilt & Textile show at UWE in September.
These pieces were inspired by Horatio Clare’s book ‘Orison for a Curlew’, a book I highly recommend reading if you are interested in nature and our human impact on the planet.