Secret of the White Elephants

17 Sep 2011
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This idea started as a group challenge with my on-line quilt group, using only black, white, and one color fabric. I pulled a few fabrics from my black and white fabric stash,  and wondered what I'd do for the one color. I had purchased the orange hand-dyed fabric, and laid it with the black and white fabric.  The idea "evening sky" came to mind, then the black fabric as foreground.  The thought "white elephants" came to mind for the white fabric.  I made a little 12" square quilted piece, and liked the idea so well,  I kept it with the thought to do a "serious" piece one day, and the rest is history.

I wanted the white elephants as the focus on this piece, and coming from a jungle. The orange fabric was the evening sky, and I had black fabric as the foreground.  I assembled the elephants on my teflon sheet, then laid them on the background as if coming from the jungle. I added the fused raw edge tree, cut each piece of viney leaf from fused batik fabric, and assembled them as the jungle fauna.  Fused batik purples and mottled pieces helped for shading under the tree, and when I was pleased with the it,  I pressed the pieces and began thread painting the jungle fauna. I used variegated King Tut thread from Superior, and did some thread painting on the elephants. Then I layered the top with batting and backing, and free-motion quilted all over with various cotton and rayon threads.

I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt so much sky, and why were the elephants coming from the jungle?  The idea of "spirit elephants" came to mind along the horizon, and a "Master elephant'  became my quilting motifs.  I decided the story line would be that only the white elephants could hear and answer the spirit call of the master elephant, hence the title of this piece.

It measures 38" x 37" .  I do all my work on my Bernina 440.

Oh, and I did do another piece for the quilt group.

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Gwen Gwinner wrote
on 17 Sep 2011 1:18 PM
Bronwyn9 wrote
on 18 Sep 2011 12:38 AM

I really like this, your elephants look like they are on a mission, and your colour combinations work well.  Well done.

Gwen Gwinner wrote
on 18 Sep 2011 9:08 AM

Thank you kindly, Bronwyn9

RUEdOAK wrote
on 21 Sep 2011 10:54 AM

What catches my eye is how you overlapped the foliage onto the left / foreground elephant. Works really well.


Gwen Gwinner wrote
on 25 Sep 2011 8:37 PM

Thanks, Jen!

on 28 Oct 2011 1:11 PM

I love the vibrant color choices, the elephants and the jungle foliage.  An awesome work of art.  Congratulations on being selected as  the Artist of the Month for this piece! 

Karoda wrote
on 28 Oct 2011 1:14 PM

This is a beautiful quilt!  I thought about ghost elephants when reading your statement on the quilt...they are slaughtered for their ivory tusk and the trade is driven by collectors...just horrible.



on 31 Oct 2011 5:12 PM

Beautiful. The design and placement of the elephants are perfect, good composition!

yvonnequalls wrote
on 8 Apr 2012 6:28 PM

Nice work. The colors work well together and brings a feel of a calm evening.