Quilt No. 59
I have a message for my fans. Whatever you want to do in this world, it is achievable. The most important thing that I've found, that perhaps you could use, is be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you'll be a winner.
- Steve Irwin, 1962 – 2006
It took a long time after conservationist Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died on September 4, 2006 before I did this quilt in his honour. I’ve shown only his feet and legs plus a crocodile. This simplistic view of this passionate man is how I always think of Steve Irwin.
I probably looked at every one of the hundreds of pictures of Steve Irwin posted on the Internet when I was trying to find one that showed his feet in the position I had in mind. It needed to be clear enough to use as a template to make the fabric pieces for the boots. I searched a number of times over several weeks and came up with nothing that would be useful. I also looked at all kinds of pictures of work boots and hiking boots, but these weren’t right either. One day, I used “Crocodile Hunter” rather than “Steve Irwin” in a Google Images search, and found a picture of the Crocodile Hunter Action Figure. The feet were in the position I wanted and the details on the boots were very clear. I used this to create his boots and legs. The fabric for his legs was tea-dyed to give them a typical Australian tan. The green lawn he’s standing on was a piece of fabric I had dyed previously. It was the result of using up leftover powered plus liquid dye from an exploration that didn’t work out. Quite by accident, it was the right shade of green to match the fern and river fabrics in this quilt. The crocodile and fence fabric were in my stash, so it wasn’t necessary to purchase any new fabric for this quilt. The fence was also tea-dyed to give the original flat grey colour of the fabric the appearance of wood.
The outline of the crocodile came from the logo of an alligator that appeared on the plastic mailing envelope from a medical journal that I received at work. It was used to advertise an upcoming conference in Florida. I liked the outline of the alligator and kept it pinned up on my bulletin board for many years, with no particular use in mind. When I made the pattern, I narrowed the snout to make it look more like a crocodile.
The fence was added to bring things into focus by reducing the impact of all the green fabrics so they wouldn’t overwhelm the quilt. Every rail in the fence was outlined with embroidery floss. I used only one strand of brown for the top of the rails. The depth of shadow below the rails was increased by using two strands - one brown plus one strand of a red that matched the colour of the crocodile.
I made this quilt for my co-worker, Pierre, to thank him for all the hours he spent making and arranging the purchase of the business cards for Concept Quilts, and because Steve Irwin is one of his heroes, too.
Logo from envelope
Original concept drawing