Art Quilt: Owl Construction

As I made the turntable covers, I became obsessed with piecing whole circles and began to wonder how I could use them in an actual artwork. I drew some little houses in my journal, staggering them, and they reminded me of bird houses, or bird boxes. Which birds were cavity nesters, who would live in a bird box? Bluebirds, chickadees, Bewick's wrens, and owls. I looked up owl boxes and discovered many of the ones shown have horizontal slats on the front like little ladders. That was it. Owl boxes they would be. I had leftover OWL pieces that I had printed in wood type for Where's Owl, and leftover HOME pieces that I used in Home More or Less, and some found cotton printed with a variety of owls.

Owl Construction
25"w x 41.5"h (63.5 cm x 105.5 cm)
Letterpress printed from wood type on cotton; found cotton; Japanese cotton yarn-dyed and printed cotton; embroidery thread; free-motion quilted

I don't know that the owls in general need human help, that perhaps the owl boxes are mostly for human enjoyment or satisfaction. But certain owls are losing habitats from logging and climate change, so owl boxes can be useful there. For more about owls, Jennifer Ackerman wrote a terrific new book that was quite an inspiration to me, What An Owl Knows (Amazon associates link).

And the quilt has a poem, not included: Listen in the dark / night's owl will appear / in another sense.

Some details. In these you can see the found owl cloth, some embroidery, and the free-motion quilting reminiscent of leaves or branches.

And the back.

Although this quilt is part of my continued interest in birds and nature, it is also a continued look at housing. It may be a debatable idea or voluntary action to  build boxes for birds, but it is fairly inexpensive and easy to do. On a larger scale, we know we still need to build more housing for people. A harder problem and project.