Egret visits the garden

Our garden spreads gloriously beneath my office window. Thanks to the mild Northern California weather and George’s green thumbs, I always have orchids and other blooming plants to admire. The garden also attracts a diverse family of critters; hummingbirds, scrub jays and squirrels are our most common visitors for meals and shelter. Once in a great while more exotic friends drop by, and this week I’ve been entranced by the Great White Egret that first flashed by my window on Wednesday to settle onto the roof next door. For two days I stalked it with my camera, as it stalked its prey – gazing intently from neighbors’ roofs and trees into the creek behind us, the pond next door (George’s fingers crossed that our deep garden pond will protect our fish), and searching the thicket of foliage for mice or gophers.

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Read my earlier posts about visits from Great Blue Herons!

Egret in flight lutradur art quilt

I took a photograph of a gorgeous Great White Egret flying at the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond.  I blended it with my photograph of an allium flower in bloom, ending up with this collage:

Egret in flight

Egret in flight

I printed the blended collage onto lutradur that I coated with matte-for-porous-surfaces Digital Ground (for more on that process, see my prior detailed posts about printing on lutradur with Digital Ground).  I thought the print turned out very well – the detail in the egret’s wings is nearly as good as a print on inkjet paper, and the color is accurate and saturated.

I decided to use the piece in an art quilt. I backed the lutradur print with soft batting and did some free motion stitching around the abstract lines, using a few different colored threads.  Here are two closeups of some of the stitching:

Egret in flight closeup

Egret in flight closeup

Closeup of stitching

Closeup of stitching

For the frame, I chose an elegant dark gold silky fabric. The lutradur print is about 7.5 x 11 inches, and I added about 2 inches to each side for the frame.  I added another layer of batting to the back of the gold fabric, and did more free motion stitching to adhere the backing to the lutradur print.

I decided to use a simple pillow-type technique to finish the piece.  I chose a patterned sturdy off-white fabric for the backing, and sewed them face to face, leaving an opening to turn the piece right side out and small openings on both sides near the top for my hanging apparatus.  This is the finished piece:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

To hang it, I painted a wood dowel with dark gold paint, and slid it through the openings at the top.  I wrapped a length of wire link chain around each side. Here’s a closeup:

The hanger

The hanger

This is the finished piece as it hangs from the chain:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

A word about inspiration and motivation! I printed this piece months ago, but it had been lying in my “to make into something” pile since then. I’ll be teaching a workshop on using lutradur at the New Pieces Quilt Store on January 23rd, and I wanted a piece to show their customers how lutradur can be used in their quilts. This was the result ….