Art Quilt: Where's Owl?

Down by San Francisco Bay, from November until March or so, you might see a burrowing owl standing on a rock at the edge of the water. But it blends in so well, camouflaged in color and form as if it were a rock itself, that someone will likely need to point it out for you. At least at first. In my weekly winter walks by the bay, a friend and I often go to look for the burrowing owl, hoping it will turn its head in a half circle to look at us with its big yellow eyes.

I've always been interested in layering printed wood type and using the letters to add meaning or at least to point in the same direction as the theme. In Where's Owl?, I've printed all the Os, Ws, and Ls that I own. Most were sent to me by my uncle after my grandfather died; my grandfather owned a printing plant, and for whatever reason, the wood type letters were left behind and my uncle thought I would like to "make a coffee table out of them." As a letterpress printer I thought, "Heck no, I'm going to print them!"

Where's Owl?
21"w x 25"h (53.5 cm x 63.5 cm)
Letterpress printing from wood type on cotton; hand-dyed cotton; Japanese yarn-dyed cotton; cotton thread; reverse appliqué; embroidery; sashiko-style "crossed birds" pattern; free-motion quilting

I sewed a reverse appliqué over one section of the letterpress printed cloth, then pieced it with the rest of the material. I embroidered the face once it was all sewn together.

I like to choose sashiko patterns based on their names. This one is "crossed birds."

To give the border a different look and texture, I free-motion quilted the edges thinking about rocks and natural patterns. And here's the back:

It is a relief to take a little solace in the natural world.
Wishing you light and love.