Wanda Makes Waves

Dianne Leatherdale Johnson © 2005

   
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Wanda Makes Waves
Wanda Makes Waves 32” x 38”

Wanda is one of the joys of my life. She was so much fun to bring to life. Very gratifying too, she was juried into the Canadian National Quilt Show in 2004. She didn’t win, but she got to swim with the big fish. It was also my very first time entering a big national show.

The idea came to me as I was thinking of making a fantasy collage fish and her eye was the first thing I saw in my mind. She grew from there. My life was topsy turvy for about a year! I started with a full sized drawing on wrapping paper, and then made freezer paper templates. I assembled it foundation style on a large piece of muslin using satin stitch appliqué. The background water is all from prom gowns from the thrift store, and the sea bed is made up of blouses, shirts and some commercial quilting cotton.   Wanda in progress 
The eyeball is very thickly padded, hand painted, and sports double theatrical eyelashes. My dh purchased them for me and got a few funny looks for his trouble--he is a good man! The gills are mirror tiles inserted under heavily stitched circular holes in graded sizes. I did the stitching first, then applied the mirrors with a patch behind them and hid another round of stitching in the decorative thread already on the front.  Wanda's gills and lips  

The pie shaped CD pieces were inserted the same way. You cannot pass by Wanda without looking at her as she twinkles and holographs in the light. A real attention getter…she has a rather narcissistic personality. There are about five layers of batting under her so she stands out and she is satin stitch appliquéd on to the background.

Wanda sparkles

Fins  Her fins and tail are three dimensional, lined with delightful sequined knit t-shirt fabric sandwiching a single layer of batting.. I stabilized the knit with a fusible interfacing to make it behave…..used a Teflon cloth so the little dots didn’t migrate to my iron!  Tail 

Wanda herself was made separately using novelty fabrics from swaps with friends and commercial dress fabric. I purchased a whole blouse to get those lips. The shawl was a lucky find at a local fabric shop, crocheted fishnet with little brown sequins already in it. I glued and sewed freeze dried starfish to it.

Wanda’s friends are fussy cut from cotton fish fabric, backed with batting and satin stitch appliquéd to the background using invisible thread. Her wand is a balloon straw wrapped with twisted rattail cord and topped with fancy buttons  Friends 
.

The foreground seaweed is various ribbon embroidery stitches and DMC floss fly stitches. The seaweed leaves are made of two layers of cotton fused and thread painted. You will find this particular seaweed in Finding Nemo. I use my art as an excuse to go to children’s movies--you know… looking for inspiration! Some novelty eyelash knitting yarn was couched on in a twisted fashion to simulate sea anemones. The shells were drilled and stitched as well as beaded. I did not want anything to fall off while she was being judged!

Wanda now lives in Calgary, Alberta in the office of a very courageous cancer survivor who does counseling and palliative care with level four cancer patients. She says Wanda brings joy to all who meet her.

She is doing her job. I am happy.

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