Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Nightengale

I've been participating in the Facebook Art Chain, posting pictures of my artwork for 5 days and nominating a fellow artist to do the same each day. Here is more on my Day 4 post, which is some more of my old fiber work.
This wall quilt depicts the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Nightengale (his spelling), about a Chinese emperor who finds a nightingale singing so beautifully in his garden that he is moved to tears. The nightingale enjoys life in a fancy cage at court and delights everyone with his songs until one day a package containing a mechanical nightingale comes from another emperor. It is covered with jewels and everyone is so taken with it that the real nightingale is banished from court. Eventually the mechanical bird breaks and can only be played once a year. A few years later, the emperor becomes deathly ill and longs for the nightingale's song. The real bird hears of his illness and appears in his open window and sings him to sleep. The emperor awakens the next morning, fully recovered, and wants the nightingale to stay forever but, valuing his freedom, the nightingale says he will come and go as he wishes, but will sing to the emperor in the evenings to give him joy and tranquility.
I constructed the quilt to fit the requirement of "three layers held together with stitching" so that it could be entered in a quilt show, but each of the nine blocks is crazy pieced and embellished, with each of the blocks having a portion of the story that I printed on fabric in the center. Each of the cornerstones is embroidered with a different bird, and the sashing is quilted with an Asian fan design. "Hans Christian Andersen" is quilted across the bottom, and "The Nightengale" is written across the top in seed beads below a bird embroidered in redwork style. There are 34 quadrangles in shades of red, orange and pink at the corners and the seam embroidery on each of the 30 seams is different.

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