New Art Quilt: The Hidden Owl

I wasn't always an owl person, or an identifiable bird person, for that matter. But once I was introduced to an owl in my neighborhood, I was smitten. I made a one-of-a-kind book-box in 2018, inspired by the owl, shown here. Later, a relative of that barn owl appeared even closer to my house, which delighted me greatly. My creative nonfiction piece "The Hidden Owl" was published last May 2020 in Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, which caused me to take a look again at owls.

I was also thinking about the number eighteen; the Hebrew number eighteen is actually made up of the Hebrew letters, Het and Yud, which together mean "life." Multiples of eighteen are traditionally considered good luck.

Thirty-six hidden righteous people, Lamed Vavniks, are discussed in mystical Judaism, so as a beginning constraint, I would make my owl in a grid of thirty-six by thirty-six. My calculator told me that would be 1296 squares. In November, I pulled out all my fabric.

I began cutting squares

and stuck them to the batting.

And bit by bit

I sewed them vaguely into nine patches,

which became a picture.

It turns out she stays hidden unless you look at a small photo of her or observe her from fifty feet away.

The Hidden Owl
45"w x 43.5"h (114 cm x 110 cm)
Hand-dyed and commercially made cotton and linen; hand-quilted

Sometimes it takes an event close to home to make one pay careful attention. Then again, sometimes you can see better from a distance.