Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy

I have several projects in progress and a serious to do list, but I couldn't resist starting and finishing a new project: a life sized salmon fiber sculpture/pillow.  I used batiks and some lovely new Gradient print from Moda. I used a copy of this pattern which was well written and illustrated by JanLee Irving, who is an Alaska resident. She knows her fish. This one has all of the fins that a wild Salmon has. Hatchery fish have their dorsal fin clipped for identification. They may be kept, while the wild ones can only be gently caught and released.

36" from nose to tail. My name tag is on the belly. 

Pattern for sale in my etsy shop. Written by JanLee Irving.

You can see the embellishment details here: ribbons and rick rack. 

The fins are made from interfaced ironing board fabric, the metalic shiny gold stuff. 

One detail I'd edit: the original placement of the eye (see stitching lines?) looked odd. I used my seam ripper and moved the eyes forward. The mouth stitching also had to go.   
The gills are dimensional. The head is velvet remnant from a Sue Spargo tote that I made and wrote about in May of 2013. The center of the eye is black pleather, also from a remnant, from a Cat-woman Halloween costume I made for Caroline over a dozen years ago. See? It is important to save those cool remnants. They are still good. There is even a fancy word for that: mottainai, a Japanese word that means too good to waste. It is a beautiful term from Buddhism that is central to the mindful upbringing of most Japanese, (notably the elder, traditional people) that honors the preciousness of things.

Synchronicity. As I wrote this blog post , my sister, Pam, who is touring Japan, saw this at the Amuse Museum. 

This pillow looks great in our living room area, which has a Steelhead Quilt on the wall and a cotton fish blanket draped over the couch. For those of you who are not Idaho natives, Steelhead and Salmon are two types of fish that are anadromous. They hatch here on our Salmon River, migrate to the Pacific Ocean, and return to spawn. They have to navigate 4 dams and a serious assault by sea lions. It is no wonder their numbers are dwindling.

I have been working on several other projects, one a special commission. Someone in quilt club asked me a few weeks ago if I sew every day. Yes, I do. I am a lucky woman.   


  1. That is very cute. Good use of your scraps. It looks like you had fun.

    1. Thanks, Kate. It was fun. I even rescued some of the ribbon from the get rid of bag. Heaven help me.

  2. perfect salmon...lifelike.
    greeting- evi erlinda