I love ravens and crows.
They are incredibly intelligent birds, forming close relationships within their flock (or “murder” as a flock of crows is called.) I made this quilt in 2004-2005 while living in Illinois. There was a West Nile Virus epidemic at the time in that region. I remember coming across a dying crow while out for a walk in my neighborhood. Although I got close to it it was too ill to try to fly away. (I knew better than to try to save it and didn’t try to touch it. West Nile also makes people ill.) Even though I was right there his buddy stayed close by. Crow populations were decimated during that epidemic because when one crow would become ill it’s family members would bring it food and try to feed it thus becoming infected themselves. Sad, but touching as well.
As I made this quilt I did a lot of reading about these often maligned birds. I found their sense of humor and the lengths they will go for a good practical joke amazing. I read a story of a rescued bird that was living with people amusing itself by mimicking the sound of the ice cream truck, causing all of the neighborhood children to come rushing out to the street. Or another that about ran some chickens to death by exhaustion by mimicking the sound of the farmer’s wife calling them to come get their feed over and over again. There were many more stories but these are the two I remember.
When we moved to California I was stunned by the numbers of crows here. Every evening during certain seasons they stream by in huge masses that fill the sky in each direction as far as you can see. This continues on and off though out the evening until sunset. We’ve joked that there are multiple murders in our neighborhood every evening!
The silhouettes of crows and branches in this quilt were my first experiment with felted wool. I bought a long wool dress coat at the thrift store and shrunk it in the laundry. I embroidered some wing details and the feet clutching the branches, but in black on black it is a bit hard to see.
This was also my initiation into the world of the log cabin block. I spent hours experimenting with different layouts… so versatile. When I hit upon this arrangement it reminded me of a sunset and led me to the idea of the appliques of crows and branches.
This quilt has a permanent home on the wall above our bed. I think it is one of my all time favorite creations.
- The Redemption of Crows or 🙂 (slog.thestranger.com)
- Crow-Killing Group Faces Backlash (abcnews.go.com)
I was featured!
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