Panthers and Tigers and Whales, oh My!

Nose of an F-8U Crusader plane, dye painted on fabric

Since “Captain Bill” (the subject of my textile painting entry for the Navy Quilt Show) was a Naval Aviator and Test Pilot, he flew all manner of aircraft.  I have a list of at least 13 different planes he’s flown, and that’s only a partial list he put together from quick memory.  Armed with the info he’s shared with me about his Navy career and having no real prior knowledge at all about planes or the Navy, I hit the web to do some online research to start gathering design ideas for my piece.

It’s really interesting to take a fresh look at something you’ve never really looked at closely before. I discovered that while many of the aircraft are similar, there are some fun variety of shapes, markings, and names for several of the planes he flew and after all my research, I can now confidently tell the difference between an A-3 Sky Warrior “Whale”, a F-9F Panther, and an F-11 Tiger.

Brain freshly loaded with all my new airplane knowledge, I spent the holiday weekend in the garage “studio” playing with dye painting and getting a good start on a couple of textile painting design ideas for the Navy quilt show.

Dye painting an image on fabric for my Navy Quilt Show entry

Overachiever that I am, I had to start 2 different pieces for this project.  The first design is a collage of various Naval Aviation imagery, all specific to Captain Bill’s Naval career. I drew out a rough sketch of the overall composition and then started dye-painting each element of the design.  While I don’t quite completely know what the final piece will look like yet, the major design elements are in place, so this piece is more pre-planned out.

The second design is much more spontaneous, and is going to be fun to watch how it develops and see what the end result will be.  For this one, I made a bunch of airplane stencils (all planes that Captain Bill has flown) and started the piece by stenciling several planes on the fabric with resist.  Then I sprayed a layer of burnt orange dye over the resist-painted stencils.

Resist-stenciled airplanes with burnt orange dye painted on top.

Stencils of airplanes that Captain Bill flew while in the Navy.

My plan is to alternate resist stenciling with painting more colors of dye, to achieve an overall interesting abstract design, made from images that are all representative of elements of Captain Bill’s Naval Aviator career.

I’ll continue to post images as the work progresses over the next few weeks.  Deadline is Oct. 1st, so they’ll be done before then!


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7 Responses to “Panthers and Tigers and Whales, oh My!”

  1. Mom Says:

    The whole process has been one amazing Blur to watch. Such attention to detail, patience and surprises all along the way. It is a beautiful, professional accomplishment and it gives me “goose bumps” watching it develop. E.C. Swanson (dad and grandpa) was also in the Navy so this whole project feels very close to home. (He was stationed in San Diego, Calif. in 1945). I know Bill is going to be surprised and overjoyed. No doubt some huge emotional “flashbacks” will take place. I think your “fortune cookie” is coming true…..

  2. Leslie Says:

    Way cool, Aynie! Love seeing you hard at work – doing what you love to do! Anxiously awaiting to see the final product! Can’t wait!

  3. Ayn Hanna Says:

    Thanks Rach! I think YOU should get going and do a piece for the show too missy 🙂

    All our “interviews” were purely emails back and forth….we never have talked “live”. I’d ask some questions and he’d pitch back some answers, and then send me some links to videos and pass along some stories from his buddies.

    There is SO MUCH information and honestly, I still feel like I’ve barely even scratched the surface of really knowing that much about his days in the Navy. And as he told me, it’s tough to explain naval aviation to the layman. But it’s been great to take the info he has given me and then go do some research on my own to learn more about it all.

    Will be fun to see what he thinks of the finished piece(s)!

  4. nora Says:

    Fabulous surface design requires understanding what’s underneath the imagery. Great start for a great project!

  5. rachel Says:

    I get a lump in my throat reading this- this is just tooooo coool and I am thrilled that you are doing it. I wish I were a fly on the wall during the interview- he probably told you a bunch of stuff hes never even told me about I am jealous and so proud of you and him too.
    Its gonna be amazing

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