Tuesday, October 11, 2011

how to make a fox

We have been given an wonderful opportunity to have an exhibition at the Open Space Visitor center gallery in November of next year.  I thought it would be a great idea to make long, narrow pieces to hang from the center of the gallery that we can walk through, and have it be like hiking in our mountains.

 The gallery wanted a sample, so I decided to make a piece centered on a gray fox I saw running through our neighborhood one night,

First of all I worked on the fox, beginning with a sketch in markers on a buff piece of batik.
 Then I put it on the
machine, simply layered on a piece of felt with no other backing.
I then stitched it very closely with grays and a little red and white.
After it was completed, I removed it from the machine, cut away the excess felt, and turned the fabric under to make a large applique piece.
Next came the various elements of the landscape- I painted a piece of silk for the sky, and marker-sketched a bit of hand dye with some distant mountains.
I knew I wanted rocks (we're the rock capital of the world), yuccas, and a grassy hill, so I cut those shapes out of appropriately colored material.

I gave each shape a color wash of dye na flow for
extra shading and depth- grey, burnt umber, and purple.  I built the yuccas from the shaded purple-gray-green, stacking up the long narrow leaves on a piece of teflon.

The sky was quilted by itself first-the reason for this is two fold- I can sew freely without worrying about running into foreground elements, and also I can move those elements around for maximum impact.
After removing it from the machine, I began working my way downward- placing the mountains, hill and a couple of rocks- then I quilted them.

Then came boulders, grasses, the yuccas, and the fox was appliqueed in front of them.
 I used a beautiful striped hand dye for the foreground, over which I put the foreground plants- chamisa and prickly pear- and dabbed on cream, yellow and yellow ochre for the flowers.
Since the piece is meant for free hanging, I backed it with a lightweight black interfacing to hide the stitching and help it to hang straight.


  1. really enjoyed seeing your process - this is a beautiful piece and I can see your vision of walking threw the mountians

  2. this piece is so gorgeous in person, Betty! incredible-so excited to see how this show turns out...