Aquila: Eagle Constellation Quiltlet

For my 2019 artist's book The Third Light I researched bird constellations in the northern hemisphere and found four, one of which is Aquila the Eagle. Looking through my Sibley guide for Western North America, the only eagle with the genus "aquila" was Aquila chrysaetos so I created a silhouette, and now a little quilt, based on the Golden Eagle. The pronunciation is AH-kwill-ah.

In Greek mythology, Aquila was Zeus's personal assistant, bearing and carrying his thunderbolts, and retrieving them after they struck. Kind of an awesome responsibility, actually.

As an offshoot of The Third Light, and due to a collection of the gold, orange, brown, and yellow silk that Dianne dyed and that we did not end up using for our 2019 collaboration, Letters of Transit,  I wanted to make a quilt celebrating the Golden Eagle. But I was still attached to the idea of constellation, so the silhouettes are silk backed with cotton and appliquéd with metallic stitched "stars" and other silk thread accents. I got some beautiful Japanese silk thread from kimonomomo (note: the set came as many single packages, you have to add your own tassel.)

One eagle wasn't enough, and I began the quiltlet close to nesting season, so perhaps this is a family.

The birds came together on a hand tie-dyed piece of raven black cotton cloth, and they fly over what is perhaps an armory, a skyscraper, or beacon. I was also still thinking about light pollution that can confuse bird migration and blur our view of the night sky as well. So much packed into an abstraction.

It needed more flow and something else to break up the space without intruding. After reading about the mythological origins, the words came, and I embroidered them in blue silk to recede into the background but shine a little: pledged to thunderbolts thrown by another / eagle waits in the stars for the signal to strike.

19.5"w x 29.5"h
hand-dyed silk by Dianne Ayres, hand tie-dyed cotton, appliqué, embroidery
machine quilting, hand quilting

I wonder if we are the eagles, too, watching, waiting for the right moment to use our power.


FA Neophyte said…
That is gorgeous! Both your work and the thought attached to it. <3
Alisa said…
Thanks, CrowGirl!