Yesterday, February 1st was the first Reveal date for The Endeavourers, our new art quilt group, and our theme for this quarter was ‘Nature’. My full post for the quilt I made for this challenge, including both my thoughts and the making process, can be found on The Endeavourers blog and also at the bottom of this post. Here is a summary.
It is called ‘Don’t Poke the Bear’ and uses the bear (which I hope looks like the world) to represent Nature and is based on the idea that if you poke a bear, or cause sufficient disturbance to the natural balance of the environment, it can be expected to roar and fight back.
The tear is for the suffering and loss of individuals, species and habitats that is occurring in the interim and with a special sadness for the state of the oceans, which are filling with plastics at a shocking and unsustainable rate. A particular inspiration for this aspect of my quilt was the short video below, which is the saddest I have ever seen.
I felt very reluctant to contribute such a sad quilt and blog post to our first art quilt reveal, which is an exciting and joyful event, but my hope is that perhaps by making this quilt and sharing the video I will add a small voice to all those who are campaigning for a dramatic reduction in the use of unnecessary, and especially disposable single use plastics.
I hope that you will visit my fellow Endeavourers. Their response to the Nature theme has been amazing and you can find a wonderful variety of beautiful, inspiring and uplifting art quilts on our group blog.
Janine @ Rainbow Hare
Here is the full post:
When the word ‘Nature’ was drawn as the subject of our first Endeavourers Quilt theme, I was more than a little daunted. My impulse was to try to make a small quilt that would somehow encapsulate a sense, or a least an aspect, of the natural world as a whole and yet it is so vast!
And I really wanted to make something inspiring and uplifting (or at least cheerful) for this first reveal (and I apologise to my fellow Endeavourers for failing in that because because this first reveal seems like the most inopportune time for a sad post) but, truth to tell, although I love being surrounded by countryside and the starry owl filled nights and the ever changing seasons and the antics of the wild creatures, Nature as a whole, with its current mass extinctions and the degradation of the natural environment, fills me with concern.
How this led to a bear baiting analogy is something for which I can’t altogether account but some recurring thoughts that kept coming into my mind were an image of the world in photos taken from space, the phrase ‘Don’t poke the bear!’ and this stanza from The Burning of the Leaves by (Robert Laurence-Binyon)
So I decided to make a bear as globe-shaped as possible using some map print fabric and I originally considered having some people with a stick to suggest that when provoked to a point Nature can be expected to roar back.
But too much of the story was missing in that, even if Nature can roar at us (metaphorically) in storms and tsunamis and floods and droughts and suchlike, it overlooked the enormous and irreplaceable loss both to individual species and habitats and to diversity. So I decided to leave out the people and have the bear floating alone in space. And that was when I chanced upon the saddest video I have seen.
And I added a tear for the albatrosses.
For the albatrosses themselves and for all that suffer similarly and for Nature as a whole that we have come to this.
I hope that one day I will be able to make a sequel to this quilt with a happier bear…and I’m sure my future Endeavourer quilts will be happier as I’m really not in the habit of making sad quilts!
Making the Quilt