Saturday, August 28, 2010
Just found out today that I won Best of Show for the Aullwood Audubon Show in Dayton Ohio this summer with Pelton's Rose-Gentian. You can read about all the work in the show on Lisa Broberg Quintana's blog. She has covered all the work and has photos of them that are luscious.
This gives me a chance to talk about this piece, as it is dear to my heart. I found the inspirational photograph for this piece in a Nature Conservancy magazine. I tracked down the photographer, John Pelton, and interviewed him on how he found it and how he knew it was a new species. Then I purchased permission to use the photography for inspiration for a quilt.
Turns out that this little flower was found early this 21st century by John Pelton,who is an amateur botanist, a professional photographer and a retired engineer from Alcoa. He specializes in photography of Arkansas wildflowers. Out one day, John saw a flower that he knew had to be a rose-gentian, but it was growing in a spot that no known rose-gentian grew. It was growing right next to and in a fast flowing stream in a broken shale valley.
John came back later and examined the plant more carefully and keyed it out. He was convinced that the flower was a totally new species, so he called in other experts on the plant species to help determine its origins. After sending a specimen to a Canadian botanist, the world's authority on rose-gentians, it was confirmed to be a brand new species. Subsequently, as is traditional, it was named for its discoverer.
Now, I was enthralled to learn that John is in his seventies. I love where people of great years are still making substantial contributions to the world. And, it is wonderful that the world still has room for scientific discoveries made by amateurs.
I selected fabrics for this piece to covey some of the environment and mystery of the plant. John discovered the plant growing in broken shale right on the edge of a stream. The shibori dyed fabrics by Lunn Fabrics on the bottom of the piece recall the broken shale. The shibori fabrics at the top, recall the running water of the creek.
Pelton's Rose-Gentian (detail)
I started with the background fabric, dyed by Judy Robertson. Most of the fabrics are hand dyed, the pinks were hand dyed by Janet Lasher, specifically to create these flowers. I used the piecing techniques of Ruth McDowell to construct it.
It was my last pieced quilt. It is large, 50" x 45".
Okay, I know you folks who have done bed quilts are laughing and think that it is small. Everything is relative.