"[grey whales are] believed to carry more parasites, such as barnacles and whale lice, than any other whale" (from mammals of british columbia, by eder & pattie). the first grey whale had lots of barnacles and scars to represent this. but what if I took that a step further?
i think i've mentioned before an increasing interest in raw edges and patchwork. i've been spending a lot of time looking at japanese boro textiles online, and i'm fascinated by the patchwork of blues that are made. i know these textiles are a symbol of the extreme poverty of some peasants in japan, but the fabrics that they have made are pieces of art. sri threads is a brooklyn gallery with a blog detailing some of the amazing garments and other textiles they have acquired.
so if grey whales are typically scarred, why not step that up a little bit, and add some actual boro style patching? this is what i came up, and i think he has a real good feel to him. he is made of denim, linen and cotton in varying shades of blue. i know they aren't traditional indigo dyed (i've got plans for that though!), but i hope it captures a bit of the character of boro in a contemporary way. i can see this is going to be a common theme for a little while. i'm sure it will mainly be on hanging pieces, but i'm eager to try it further on these soft sculptures. i think it is a natural extension of my desire to re-use and recycle fabrics as much as possible rather than buying new.
boro patchwork is usually held in place with sashiko-style stitching, which is basically a running stitch that heavily covers the patch and holds it in place. i am certainly no expert, and know there is lots of more decorative sashiko to be seen. however, i like the way this stitching makes the patch feel more a part of the underlying fabric, or at least that is how i see it, especially when the two fabrics are similar in colour.
this grey whale is now in the shop along with his little friend, the minke whale. this minke also has some sashiko-style stitching on the white patches on his flippers.
i'm also really happy with the way the stitching on the minke's underside turned out on this one, for the pleats along his neck and as definition on the undersides of his flippers.
i'll leave you with a spot of yellow to hopefully brighten your day. we are nowhere near spring around here, but i can never resist the $1.99 bunches of daffodils that appear in the grocery store at this time of year. i may need this touch of spring - you can see the green grass in the photos above, but a snowfall warning has just been added to tonight's forecast, with varied snowfall for the next week! that would #5 snowfall for this winter so far - yikes.