Owl Totem

I needed to come up with something for a mid-term project for one of my art therapy courses and was super excited to do this for myself and to honor my heritage. I ended up creating an owl made completely from fabric remnants I had on hand. I have also included my artist statement for this piece; and directions for how I created this piece.

Artist Statement: I thoroughly enjoy working with bright colors as I feel they give great depth to expressing feelings of what I am experiencing in life. I want to tell stories through many mediums that range from story quilts to painting on canvas. I wish to honor my ancestors through my work as well with ties back to Native Americans via textile work like my piece titled Owl Totem. Totems are considered spiritual guides within many cultures and these guides are helpful when it comes to healing in the field of art therapy. By using a variety of fabrics I was able to create a representation of one of my spiritual guides: the owl. Owls symbolize light shining in dark places. The bright colors that both absorb and reflect light are found within the feathers; the buttons used for the eyes pay homage to my maternal ancestors from whence I gained my Cherokee heritage. Color in any medium works best for me as I can tap into the emotions pouring from my soul into the canvas (regardless of the material), since I have an ease within myself that demonstrates the playfulness, I hold in my heart even while dealing with intense moments of heartache. Life is worth living and I find it full of delight that can only be conveyed through bright colors, textiles, and my paintbrush.


Select fabrics that are cohesive. I chose a fun spring green pattern for the background and the colors of gold and teal found in the background helped to tie in the brown paisley, sold teal, brown satin, and metallic gold remnants.

I bought a 11 x 14 cheap frame from the dollar store, and luckily enough while at the dollar store found adhesive spray and dreamcatcher stickers. Talk about a happy coincidence.

I used the adhesive spray to help hold the background fabric to stay smooth on the cardboard that came with the frame. I then used tacky glue to hold the edges to the back of the cardboard for a smoother finished look.

Next, I made the body of the owl by first sketching out on the teal, brown paisley, brown satin, and metallic gold fabric for the feathers. I used a water-soluble pencil ( a must have for any quilter). With a small dab of tacky glue, I build the body of feathers. Note: only use a small amount of glue at one edge in order for the feathers to be freer and look more three-dimensional.

Once the body was complete it was time to work on the owl’s head. I put the owl head together using the brown paisley for the head, solid teal for the eye shape, and buttons for the eyes themselves. I used adhesive paper for the head and attached to the body after adding in some feathers around the top of the head.

To finish off the piece, I put a dreamcatcher sticker in each corner.

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