No this is not a blog about the Hitchcock movie, “The Birds,” although that does provide another example of the use of birds in art. I jokingly say if the quilt has a bird on it, it is coming home with us. Whether the birds are pieced, applique or in the fabric design we are both drawn to birds.
As I’m working on a quilt filled with birds, I was interested to think of Di Ford Hall’s design source. I started thinking about how many quilts I’ve made that have birds, either hand painted, part of the fabric or appliqued. (I haven’t pieced a bird in a quilt yet, although I have designed several paper pieced birds. That quilt is still in the design stage.)
Even the earliest civilizations used birds in their art whether carved in stone in Mesopotamia or drawn in prehistoric cave paintings. Roman mosaics are filled with birds of different types as are fables and stories. Birds were used to symbolize different meanings and woven into the earliest textiles.
We see hand painting or hand block printed textiles including birds in the designs. Early block plates and “roller printed” (cylinder) textiles included birds: peacocks, swans, and more. In fact, we tracked several different chintz birds in our Famous Fabrics from our book Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection. We continue to look for more interesting birds in fabrics. We are excited to offer some new reproduction fabrics in the coming months with, you guessed it, more birds!