No one knows exactly how migrating birds find their routes and return to the same destinations year after year. Theories include the use of celestial navigation, magnetic influences and other visual cues. Other theories suppose that a kind of inner map is programmed into their genetic code or that baby birds follow their parents and that first migration imprints a map in a particular part of their brains that they carry for the rest of their lives. Perhaps there is a time in the early development of all living things where one incorporates the map of their surroundings. I sometimes dream about the house I lived in as a small child and all the little details of our street and neighborhood. I remember the sidewalk we roller skated on as children and I knew exactly, without looking, where to lift my skate to avoid a hole in the pavement or a uneven seam. I think I could do it today without missing a beat. I see it all in my mind's eye, as if from above, like a map. I love the idea of inner maps.
For this piece I printed a map of Oregon (where I live) on fabric and as I began to trace my bird onto the fabric I was surprised to see that the Oregon coastline defined the edge of the wing, which in turn became part of the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River, which is Oregon's northern border, defined the change in the feathers at the bird's neckline.
I knew early what I would do for this challenge and thought my piece was finished more than a month ago. A couple weeks ago I looked at it and saw that it needed a third layer— something between the bird and the vast sky. I think the addition of the branches added the sense of space that was missing. Here is how it looked before.
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About Twelve by Twelve
We are twelve quilt artists who embarked on an art challenge together. We're from different places throughout the world and our artistic styles vary, but we share a love of art quilting and a desire to play, experiment, learn, and grow.
For four years (2007-2011), we each made a 12x12 inch quilted art piece on a designated theme or palette. See our Theme Series and our Colorplay series.
For the 2012 Series, we changed things a bit and made rectangular pieces, 20x12 inches with roughly 10 weeks between each challenge. As before, we had a designated theme for each challenge.
We shared our process, progress, and results on this blog. It remains a key record of our rich collaboration.