Sometime in the fall I read about a contest in my QUILTING ARTS magazine, a contest for art quilts that would then become a part of their 2012 calendar. The theme was "Feeling Pet-ty" and what contestants were to produce were 12"x12" quilts that portrayed a pet.
My first brainstorm (and I still think this was a super idea!) was to do a quilt called "My Granddogs." For this I needed photos of the three granddogs in my life, Twist (Rob's border collie), Rolie (Kathy and family's miniature poodle), and Ace (Susan and family's Labradoodle). I had a good picture of the young Twist, and Susan sent me a batch of excellent photos of Ace. The problem was Rolie. Since he is solid black, getting my hands on a good picture of him proved to be nearly impossible. So, despite having put in a lot of work on this plan, I decided to try something else.
I decided to make a portrait of an unconventional pet, thinking that there would be hundreds of dog and cat portraits. I wanted something different and edgy. I delved back into my childhood. I immediately thought about the little critters we used to call "horny toads." My friend Kitty and I used to capture a baby horny toad, put it in a shoe box whose lid had holes poked in it, give it water in a bottle cap, but we never knew what to feed it. So eventually we'd let the little thing go. How well I remember how we'd stroke the baby between its horns, claiming that this hynotized it, though I'm sure it was just frozen with fright. I can still remember how soft its little under belly was, in contrast with its spiny back. (Incidentally, in those innocent 1950s, I had no idea that "horny" had a naughty connotation!)
After doing a search for images, I discovered that these are really lizards, not toads, and their official name is "horned lizard." I found a wonderful photo online, wrote the photographer for permission to use his picture in a quilt, and then I started to work. This quilt is now finished, but I am not going to publish here pictures of it, since it's soon to be competing with hundreds of others. (But I will send my readers who are interested photos via email!) I wish I had more time to perfect this quilt--I can see lots of flaws. But the Jan. 7 deadline is approaching, and so I have photographed it as instructed and will send three 8"x10" pictures to the contest, along with a narrative about its inspiration, construction, and materials.
Meanwhile, though, I'll show you the images I was working on for the Granddog quilt. And actually, all is not lost, for I have ideas for a Twist and an Ace product, to give to their owners!
|photo above (taken years ago by me) and|
below a traced image after I
scanned and enlarged the picture
|Here is Twist, traced onto|
muslin. After hearing about
friend Linda's embroidered pet
portraits, I plan to do that for son Rob!
|Here is Ace, a photo above|
and then a picture printed onto regular
paper after I doctored it
a bit with Photoshop.
|The Ace portrait printed onto fabric,|
appliqued onto a string-pieced background.
I had intended to turn this into
a pillowtop for Susan for Christmas, but I ran out of time.