A radish rises

laurahere.jpgA family member (who shall remain nameless...) asked me to make them some artwork for the wall for Christmas. Hmmm...I was drawing a big blank, until recently, when reading a cookbook, I found inspiration. Crescent Dragonwagon's Passionate Vegetarian is a huge book full of personal stories, poems, quotes, and yes lots of recipes. The piece that struck me was the following poem by Karla Kuskin:

Write about a radish

Too many people write about the moon.

The night is black

The stars are small and high

The clock unwinds its ever ticking tune

Hills gleam dimly

Distant nighthawks cry.

A radish rises in the waiting sky.


Rather than write about a radish, I'll make art about one!

I cut a piece of wool felt, steamed it over the tea kettle, and stretched it over the neck of a gourd which was handy in my studio. I kept pulling, stretching, and steaming the felt until it was smoothly shaped.


After letting it dry, I stuffed it with wool, and added a root of a twisted piece of wool with thread root hairs.


Needlefelting was next to add a pink radish top, and cover the top of the radish where I had sewn it together, and would attach the leaves.


I used green wool felt for the leaves, with a floral wire vein and stem. (Forgot to get a good picture of the leaves!)

OK the radish was looking very...radishly, now on to the dark night sky.

I took a great workshop with Susan Shie years ago and thought her spontaneous quilt making style would suit this project. So, without measuring or sketching, I cut some of my hand dyed fabrics and laid out a simple landscape.


I couldn't figure out how to incorporate the radish, it's scale was off. A quilt big enough to incorporate the radish would be to unwieldy for a gift size project. I soon decided the quilt and the felt radish would be a suite of two, a diptych maybe? The quilt ended up with a fabric radish that works better. It is hand stitched with many seed stitches, and the poem is written on the bottom hill.


The back looks neat too:


This has been a fun, satisfying project-Steaming and shaping wool felt has great potential for future projects! I hope the recipient doesn't figure out this is their's until Christmas morning, but I had to post about it, its what I've accomplished lately!

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