For those of you who read my post earlier in the week about recovering my heat gun, this is the reason I was looking for the bondaweb (fusible webbing). I wanted to put the toad on the quilt. Although I didn’t find the roll of the stuff,which is somewhere in my workroom, I found enough of the actual webbing to be able to improvise with a bit of release paper I also found.
I have to admit that I cheated. I found a toad pattern on the internet and traced it:
The puritan in me thinks that I should have drawn my own, but life is a bit short and this was such a good outline that I decided just to get on with it.
I found some beautiful heavy green silk which came from the upscale curtain maker my mother knows, and traced the outline onto the bondaweb which I ironed onto the back. I even remembered to reverse the image. I knew that stitching through bondaweb by hand is a nightmare and didn’t feel up to stitching the paisley motif from some gorgeous trim from aarti j (www.aartij.com/) by machine, so I decided to mount the silk on some of the black cotton left over from the border and then to stitch the whole thing onto the quilt like a slip. I was a bit lucky to find that sequin motif for the eye. I have a feeling I bought it years ago at Paperchase of all places, and it picks up the strong blue in the rest of the quilt. The eye, as ever, brought the whole thing to life, but when I had stitched it to the quilt something was still missing, and I added the tiny little black seed beads which looked like warts and somehow integrated it into the whole piece.
I really like the trick of mounting the applique on black, which I read about in a textile art magazine months ago and have been meaning to try. I will see if I can find the reference. I think it works amazingly well even on such a ridiculously overworked piece as this quilt. It has a quietening effect which I like.
This is another example of things falling together, though, as the braid was exactly the right size and colour to suggest the legendary jewel in the toad’s back.
Here’s the full image in close-up:
He was really good fun to make and this counts for a lot in these dark days and straightened circumstances. A bit of delight goes a long way. Which brings me to my glorious Colombian friend, Beatriz, who is convinced that love, friendship and generosity is what will get us through this, and who sent me a lovely comment about the liminal status of the toad after my last post:
In pre columbian cultures like muiscas ( those from El Dorado legend) the frog is associated to fertility as it also announces
the rainy season…
When I was living with the indigenous community of the Koguis at la Sierra
Nevada I met lots of toads: every afternoon after 5:00 pm when we were cooking our meal in the maloka, dozens of toads appear
from the river up to the hill where the small settlement of 10 malokas were… there were
so many and so big!
The joy of toads. Who would have guessed?