When traveling, the compulsive maker turns to events and materials at hand. At the start of a trip to Rara Avis, a remote ecoreserve in Costa Rica where the trails are so slippery the experience has been described as "swimming upstream in a river of mud," the simple sleeveless cotton top I'd made to wear in the heat was strictly utilitarian.
In my cabin at the end of the trail (where golden sloths could be spotted from the porch) I was awakened the first night and each night thereafter by scrabbling sounds that were too close for comfort. In the morning I'd find half my bar of soap gone, with a perfect set of jagged teeth imprints left behind. In the open air dining hall (next to a crumbling building where a tapir had taken up residence) I found a book on mammals of Central America and learned that my visitor was a rare species of rat found only in the vicinity of Rara Avis.
I promptly embroidered both the rat and the text from the reference book (along with the citation) onto my shirt.
A young Costa Rican woman visiting Rara Avis watched me embroider for a while, then went off into the jungle and came back with what looked like a hunk of okra. It was part of an orchid that makes an instant and permanent eco-print on fabric. We finished off the Rara Avis top by stamping a couple of orchid prints above the rat.