Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saying Goodbye

One of the emotions an artist faces occurs the moment her art passes into the hands of a new owner. I want to sell my work and yet, at that special moment, a small lump forms in the throat. This was true for me at the recent sale of Indian Blankets because a phenomenal experience was the inspiration for the work.

One beautiful summer day, my husband and I were driving along the road into the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in SW Oklahoma. We were hoping to catch sight of the free range native animals that roam wherever they please over the 59,000 acres of the refuge. It is quite a thrill to see groups of Texas longhorn cattle grazing in the distance, or see a crowd of bison waiting their turn to take a dust bath in a wallow. On this day, I was elated to find a number of bison grazing nearby.  

Ahead of us was one gigantic bull munching grass along the shoulder of the road. I rolled down my window and prepared my camera as we very slowly inched up alongside of him knowing full well how unpredictable and dangerous bison can be.  He was as big as our SUV. We moved very quietly along his side and he took absolutely no notice of our presence.  I could have reached out and scratched his head if I dared. I settled for hearing him breathe as he snatched up bits of prairie grass and shook the flies from his spectacular head of rough hair.  It was a jubilant high for me because a quilt was inspired at that very moment.  

I did not take one photo because I wanted to remember the entire encounter rather than have it miniaturized and defined by a camera lens. The image of the bull is deeply imprinted in my mind. Upon return to my studio, Indian Blankets was started.

Indian Blankets, 51" x 64"  SOLD

I designed the bull eating gaillardia, rather than grass, because the flower is commonly called, Indian blankets, is Oklahoma’s state flower and grows wild in the refuge.  The bison remains a strong animal figure because the species historically sustained our Native Americans in so many ways. And I have a great fondest for these spectacular creatures, Bison bison. 


Quilter Beth said...

I, too, have been awed by the sight of bison having seen a huge heard coming across the land and heading into a large stream in Yellowstone. I love the description of your encounter. I can only imagine how hard it is to part with your piece.

Rachel Parris said...

Love this post. It speaks so clearly to who you are on many levels. Thanks for sharing.