I did say I had more photos. And no, the elephant was not the quilting inspiration -- I just really like the picture and my daughter was thrilled by the elephant sculpture that sprayed water.
The quilting inspiration came in one of our last stops of the day. Brookfield Zoo has a fantastic butterfly exhibit. It is located in a "greenhouse" (I have the " " because while it is screened, it isn't closed to the outside air) that has been landscaped and planted with butterflies in mind. The plants smell wonderful (and after the primate house and portions of the indoor fragile desert areas -- this was a "good thing") and the colors are absolutely amazing. In addition to the colors -- well, imagine walking into a movie set idea of a butterfly garden. Hundreds and hundreds of North American butterflies zooming around in colors that rival the plants.
The colors on these little beauties really got me thinking about the way I use color in my quilts. Can't you just picture a quilt based on the colors found in a butterfly in the same rough proportions? I think it would be an instant recipe for color success. Just look at this one (sorry it's blurry -- some of them just didn't sit still for long but it's clear enough to get the color story). Black with punches of bright clear blue, red, and orange. Add in some lime green as the "neutral" background and you would have something spectacular.
And how about this one? The bright yellow of the flower with the browns, blacks, oranges and tans of the butterfly. Again, how can you go wrong with this combination? I'm not really a brown person. It's a color I don't generally use. I prefer its brighter cousin orange. But this combination could tempt me mightily. Add in some of that grass green from the leaves and you could have a truly stunning quilt.
And finally, this one. I'm also not usually one for neutral colors. If there is one thing universally missing from my stash it would be fabrics in the neutral range. If I am making a quilt that needs them -- I have to go out and buy them specifically for that quilt. This beauty could change my mind. Look at the browns, tans and whites. The white almost looks like it has tinges of palest, almost iridescent blue. Add some serious punches of chocolate brown with some deeper orange -- quiet, but what a punch visually. And yes, while some of the butterflies were hard to get photos of, there were a few that just seemed to sit there and pose for me. This white beauty was one and so was the one above.
So that's my quilting inspiration at the zoo. Pure color stories. I like the shapes on the wings, and of the butterflies, but my quilts don't go that way and I really can't see me making an applique butterfly quilt anytime soon. But using the colors in them -- oh yeah, that I can see. As for the zoo -- we didn't see anywhere near all there is to see. We decided to take it easy and make sure it was enjoyable -- and not too much for a 2 year old to take in. That way, she will want to go back. We managed to do that -- and she's not the only one who can't wait for the return trip!