Toad and Totem

I thought you might enjoy seeing this big fella that was outside my door the other night. I hope he’s out there eating all the mosquitoes!


I am a bit behind working on my piece for the Totem exhibition in October. I had an idea but it is a large sculptural piece and I don’t have the supplies to make it. So I decided to go another direction but was having problems thinking what my totem is. I have never really considered that I might have a totem. It is supposed to be an animal or plant that represents your or your clan. But that definition didn’t help much. So what to do. Then I remembered my prehistoric bird doodle. Perhaps that would work?

Ugliest Doodle 14

This is the doodle after I played with a scan of it in Photoshop. It was really quite ugly before that. But I do like the bird now. Kind of a cross between a turkey and an ostrich. I decided to use some screen printed fabric for a background. I found a piece of “acid” green linen to use for the bird body.


The bird body does look more yellow here than green but it is green. I added some tail feathers and I am going to couch down some yarn for his legs.


Here are some more parts of the piece after some free motion machine stitching.


I am going to add a bunch of hand stitching now and see what I come up with. If you have a piece that you’d like to enter into the Totem exhibition, you can find all the information here. 

9 thoughts on “Toad and Totem

  1. Can’t wait to see the finished piece Ruth. Are we looking at 2 different pieces in the photos above or front and reverse sides of the same pieces. I love the first image of the textile bird (3rd photo down) but can’t figure out how the angular yellow pieces fit in, are they reverse appliqué?

    • Thanks Teri – the reason you can’t figure it out is that I just showed you parts of the whole. I didn’t show the entire piece. There are multiple pieces of fabric that are overlapping and I am stitching them all together with use of the machine stitching that I showed and then I’m doing Kantha type stitching over the whole piece with perhaps some other stitches like French knots and seed stitch thrown in for texture.

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