Tickled Pink

2005, 64 x 42 inches

"Tickled Pink" was inspired by a woodblock illustration by 15th Century German engraver Albrecht Durer, who's work I was aware of and admired since my early teens. Flash forward a few decades and I'm reminded of his black and white rhinoceros. Soon after I'm in a fabric shop and pick up a luscious pink and flaming orange bolt of fabric. I immediately saw armor in the design. That was the moment of inspiration for this piece. A pink rhino--of course! It took me a while, about a year and a half of collecting fabric, until my palette was fleshed out enough with other pinks. Once started, "Albie" materialized quite quickly, helped along by a show deadline. What always fascinated me with Durer's rhinoceros, was that he drew his based on a description of the animal—he never saw a rhino. When I made mine, I looked for a photo of the species he depicted, since it didn't have the smooth skin of an African species. My best guess is an Indian or Javan Rhinoceros—they have the drooping folds of skin that make up the armor of Durer's version. As I find out with so many of my quilt subjects, these rhinos are having a hard time in our world. They are losing habitat and are being killed for their body parts. I hope my pink specimen alerts others to an awareness of these animals and to their plight, as it did for me.

In case some of you think Durer is excessive imaginative with the representation of his rhino as seen above, check out the sumatran rhino pictured below.