Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tui Trio

I chose to interpret Wild as wildlife, and the native flora and fauna of my adopted country.

A New Zealand postage stamp design inspired my subject. We have many extinct and several active volcanoes, most in the North Island. The shape of Rangitoto Island is very familiar to us, lying as it does off the East Coast of Auckland. It has the typical cone shape, but very shallow sides. You can get a ferry to the Island, and to some of the other islands, like Waiheke, which has many  boutique wineries and other local products.

When I was doing my City and Guilds, I spent some time working in my sketch book and taking photos of New Zealand flax, phormium, or its Maori name, Harakeke. In the end I found its growth was rather cluttered, and even though I made samples for its spiral seedheads, I went in another direction. But I still have a hankering to feature flax. Its flower spikes are quite tall and very attractive to nectar loving birds. Down where I live, it is mainly the bellbird, but in the north there are many tuis. Tui is also the name of a beer here, which has slogans with unlikely claims, followed by "yeah, right!". They are pretty sexist, but actually often very funny.

Generally speaking New Zealand wildlife does not have the wonderful variety and flamboyance of Australian birds and flowers. Our birds are often shy and brown, and our plants have green flowers, or subtle colours!

I chose to quilt the background first and then dye it, before adding the plants and birds.

Here is a link to the tui's song. The bellbird has a prettier song, but they seem similar.


  1. Beautiful work, Julia, there is a haunting quality about your piece. The birds bring this piece together so effectively.

  2. I like these colours; especially the contrast of the subdued background and the bright flax.

  3. Julia, I love the simple stylised design, somehow it catches the sound of the bird song in the image. The quilted circles were an inspired choice for the background

  4. This is a very effective piece - the colour of the flax is perfect against the pale ground. Another wonderful piece from you, again, Julia!

  5. Julia, I like the color you have used, the very light blue background contrasts very well with the bright red and the different oranges and browns and as the ice on the cake those lovely black birds.
    Thank you so much for the bird song!

  6. I agree with the others, it is a wonderful quilt.