Sanctuary: a Tabletop Quilt

When we first moved in, we planted a silver dollar gum tree in our back yard. It fit in the back seat of our car and was as tall as I. It grew (and still grows) five feet a year. I included it in my 2013 artist book, Tree.

Over time we found that eucalyptus is not native to the United States, and it has shallow roots: not the best choice. One stormy year a branch, heavy with rain, blew down in the wind; it just peeled down the trunk like string cheese. Since then, we have kept it cut back, which also keeps the new leaves round. Older leaves are elongated. Most eucalyptus that were planted around here are a variety with the longer leaves.

But eucalyptus is an amazing tree. Hummingbirds like the blossoms. Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets in California prefer them for nesting (although not ours, alas). It is a sanctuary for them. So, this quilt with this name.

Sanctuary. It is a birthday gift for a friend, made with cloth she gave me, which I dyed and stitched together. The dyeing processes are described in this previous post. At the time, I also used some of our round eucalyptus leaves for a resist experiment.

With the sewing machine I stitched and quilted bird outlines with variegated thread, one continuous line. You can see the birds, somewhat, on the back.

The fabric leaves for the quilt were doubled, then appliqu├ęd with a machine-stitched center line. I used strips of the ice-dyed cloth for the binding.

On the back I added a label with the title and a sleeve. It could be a lap quilt or hung on a wall. It is 22" x 30", coincidentally the size of a piece of printmaking paper. I had intended to make her a print, but this is what happened instead.

Eucalyptus may be flawed as a tree, but it makes a good home.


Happy Belated Birdy DA!