Always a good feeling to complete a work that has been waiting on the drawing board! Here is my Gang-gang cockatoo wall hanging, which started with an organic cotton tea towel given to me by a friend. It was much too beautiful to be drying dishes on! And both the gift-er (Sheila) and myself love gang-gangs. We had a ball with quite a tame bunch (flock?) that called in for a snack a few years back.
Here is the original tea towel, designed by Tatiana Clauzet used by The Linen Press. She is a Portuguese artist, and I love her designs of our native birds (amongst all her work), which can be seen by doing a Google search.
Very rarely do I work with just blue colour-ways, but wanting to situate these birds high in the branches, I chose the simplest way: stripping 3” widths cut into squares at 90 degrees, and stitched to end up with 2,1/2” squares. To include some green was given consideration – even a blend of only greens as the background. But when I found a blue piece with the imprint of leaves I was satisfied that was enough to provide a hint to the leafy aspect of their mainly aerial habitat.
Having released the gang-gang pair from their tea towel, and backing them with fusible fabric, my attention is drawn to the full orange sun that sits behind them. In my hunt for azure blues, I had happened across a blue and purple ‘moon’, having been cut for use in a previous project, but abandoned for whatever reason. Maybe this is its time to shine! It is ready! So the orange glow gets cut away!
The background needs to be backed and quilted before I can attach the beautiful birds with their backdrop of a ‘blue moon’. This is the next decision to be made, and it is resolved by – you guessed it, another beautiful tea towel, too good to put to use drying dishes. And, to clinch the decision, it is a deep sky blue. At the bottom one word stands out DREAM, followed by: ‘Blue is the colour of peace, calm and spirituality. It helps with tranquillity, rest and freedom.’ So, it appears that’s why I decided to go with a blue background for the gang-gangs, and a blue moon, named as such because it is the thirteenth moon of a twelve monthly year.
I decided to do a ‘back-to-front’ style of joining the three layers together, as initially proposed by Lorraine Scouler, a well-known and respected former Blue Mountains quilter. Following the very bold zig-zag (lozenge) lines in white on the ‘Dream’ tea towel of the back, I realised that the zig-zag would not fit into the parameters formed by each of the smaller 2,1/2” squares, which was my original idea for the quilting lines. But, I argued, why not use the existing lines already there on the backing tea towel, lines that resonate with the soaring movement of bird wings, the more inconsistent drifting clouds on the horizon, the rolling waves of the sea. It has long been a symbol for water, across millennia and across cultures, with many variations in Australian Indigenous culture to represent the changing tides and movements of waters.
Now I can turn to adding the main characters ‘mis-en-place’, the final step to arriving at the finish of my 'tea towels' wall-hanging.