Marianist Environmental Education Center has a themed, multi-media show at their Gallery St. John in Dayton, Ohio. To acknowledge the 25th anniversary of their prairie restoration project, the theme for 2011 is "Restoration." I thought of many things which would be great, but I wanted to highlight the intent of the show.
In order to maintain a native prairie, fires must periodically sweep through the grasses. Most native prairie plants are fire resistant, developed over millenia of fires started first by lightning strikes, then by man. Failure to allow a burn means that invaisive (or non-native species) can grow and push out the natives, or that the prairie will go over to forest land. Prairies are rich areas of marginal lands which provide homes for many species. Here, in an unacredited shot which appeared in the Troy Daily News, a controlled burn is started at one of the several restored prairies around Troy.
In March, I went up to the Aquifer at Mt. St. John on the restored prairie at the center and took this shot. I didn't know when they were going to do their burns, and felt that this was probably one of the more scenic areas.
I thought this might make a good project to work on when I took the class with Noriko Endo at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati. I thought that the fire and ashes would really lend themselves well to her method.
I'm not sure if I really got as much out of Noriko's class as I wanted...it is a very simple idea and I had pretty much figured it out. She's a good teacher and very supportive. It was interesting.
Noriko uses two layers of fine tulle (illusion or net) trapping one layer, then placing more "confetti" on top and trapping it with a final layer. She added the purple in the background.
I felt that the two layers made the sky too dull as well as the water in the aquifer, so I cut those layers away, leaving only one layer. I had already thread painted the branches on the Burr Oak tree on the left side, so I left the second layer in place around the twigs to give it the hazy effect that the smaller branches/twigs on a tree would leave. I used miniature oak leaves which were originally made as confetti for the young burr oak on the right side.
As I was working on it, a woman who is leading a trip to visit Japan and Noriko stopped by and saw the Troy picture... I apologetically explained that it didn't look like much yet as I had a lot of thread painting to do on the tree, grasses and of course I had to add the smoke. She said that silk cocoons would give me just what I needed. I tried that, but it didn't give the look I was going for.
This, however, I think does it well. The fiber I ended up using was soy roving.
To lighten the sky and give it more interest, I used a "cloud" of Angelina. I don't like the quilting in it but at present with my hands and eyesight, this is as good as it gets. I'm going to have to get some magnifying glasses on my sewing machine...and I don't know what I'll do about my hands other than accept that they don't work well until I can get off the chemo. Maybe I'll "unstitch" the quilting and try again when my hands are better.
As always, critiques and suggestions are always welcome.