Well after a concerted effort yesterday I’ve finished quilting the Arabesque. Now I have to decide on a binding fabric. I’m really not sure what to use. I’ll have to rifle through the stash in search of the perfect fabric. The trouble is I’m not even sure what I ‘m looking for. What? Oh, you’d like to take a look? Sorry for waffling, here it is…
At last! The clouds have parted and the Arabesque has revealed itself. I’ve had reservations about this ever since I started. I knew that it was dangerous to use two busy fabrics like this but I wanted them both to be busy to represent the “busy”ness of the ego and the beauty and luminosity of the Divine Centre. I wrote a bit about the symbolism of this piece here if you haven’t read it before.
It’s still hard to see the Arabesque in some parts but I think it’s visible enough. Hopefully when I quilt it with a dark grey multi-hued thread it will become clearer yet still retain that slightly “hard to see” aspect because it is hard to see the Divine Qualities shining through the garishness that is the ego.
I love seeing photos of piles of quilts one on top of the other. The colours, the textures, the shapes are all just a joy to look at. As our visitors left on Friday yesterday was the big washing and cleaning up day and today there was a pile of washed, dried and ironed quilts sitting on the chair. I just love to sit and look at them and I thought you might like to too.
But I haven’t just been sitting around admiring quilts. I have been working on my Arabesque reverse appliqué quilt. Here is a progress photo. I think the pattern is becoming easier to discern don’t you?
[tweetmeme source=”sewjournal” only_single=false http://sewjournal.com%5D
I finished my Labyrinth quilt a little while ago but I entered it into an exhbition and I didn’t want to publish the final pics until I knew for sure that I hadn’t been accepted. Well the bad news is, I wasn’t accepted but the good news is, now I can show you the finished quilt. So here it is:
[tweetmeme source=”sewjournal” only_single=false http://sewjournal.com%5D
I’ve been doing some thinking about the spiritual symbolism of the second in my series Paths to the Divine Centre – the Arabesque. As I’ve been working on it I have had some realisations which I thought I would share with you. In this piece the bottom fabric represents the beauty and luminosity of the Divine Centre. (This is understood differently in different spiritual traditions. In some it is the Divine Spark in others the polished mirror of the heart which reflects the Divine.) The top fabric represents the ego.
To begin with, before cutting away any fabric, all that’s visible is the ego which is beautiful, alluring and easy to become seduced by. Slowly, as bit by bit the top fabric is cut away, the beauty of the “Divine fabric” is made visible.
It struck me that this a great metaphor for any authentic spiritual path. That the more the ego is sacrificed to the Divine principle, the more beauty appears and not just because the “Divine” is more visible but because a unity of pattern consisting of both the Divine and the ego appears – the ego in the service of the Divine.
Now, a while back I posted a photo and said that I wasn’t sure it was working as it was hard to make out the pattern. Since then I have done more cutting and as less and less “ego” is visible the beauty of the pattern is appearing. I’m now of the belief that eventually you will be able to see the pattern clearly when more of the “Divine” is visible. I realise that the pattern would have been easier to see if the “ego fabric” had been plain, but egos aren’t plain. They are complex, busy and masquerade as the Divine and I wanted to represent that in this Arabesque.
So, while the finished piece may “work” as a piece with the pattern easily discernible, that really is not the point. It is the journey to getting there that is the spiritual metaphor in this work – the subjugation of the ego to the Divine purpose that produces the final beautiful result. Only time will tell if this piece works out but for me the journey has been worthwhile whatever the result.
I seem to have so many things on the go at the moment! I’m in the home straight of my draught stopper, half way through machine quilting my Kaffe for All Seasons winter quadrant, still hand quilting my Andalusian Tile quilt and I’m doing the Arabesque reverse appliqué.
I realised I haven’t shown you my progress with the Arabesque in a little while so here is where I’m up to. I’m not sure it’s working as well as I’d hoped but I guess I can always highlight the Arabesque pattern when I come to quilt it.
At last I have basted my pattern and last night I ripped off the greaseproof paper. It’s best to use short, sharp motions to rip it off while firmly holding the underlying fabric. Occasionally some of the stitches come out but usually that doesn’t matter. If a whole, small motif comes off then the needled marks are easy to see as I use a large basting needled and I can just re-baste that bit.
And then the fun the bit… the appliqué. I made a start last night and am hoping to do some more at Sit and Sew. So far so good, but the difficult bits are yet to come.
Looking for the Hawthorne Threads Give Away? It’s here. You’ve got just 24 hours before the draw!
I had quite productive day yesterday and went to a sit and sew where I managed to complete a hand sewn and quilted camera bag for my new camera. They say the best camera is the one you have with you and I wanted to keep mine in my handbag but I didn’t want the screen to get scratched. I also didn’t want one of those heavy black, waterproof type camera bags so I made my own. It’s light, slightly padded and cute. (well I think so :))
A new project
I also started drawing out the pattern for my next Pathways to the Divine Centre quilt. More revers appliqué I think, though I’m finding appliqué is one of my favourite activities. This one will be quite challenging and I’m not even sure it’s do-able yet but time will time. Here’s a part of the design so you can see what I mean about not being sure it’s possible.
New give away
I plan to start the Hawthorne Threads give away tomorrow. So I hope you’ll come back and check it out then.
It seems to have taken ages but at least the first top for my series of wall quilts titled Pathways to the Divine Centre is finished. All that remains is to square it up, sandwich it, quilt it and bind it. Doesn’t sound like much when you say it fast!
The Rose Labyrinth
The Labyrinth is the first in what I hope will be a series of 4 or 5 quilts depicting the various pathways to the Divine Centre. There are five aspects to the symbolism of this quilt which is based around the design of the Rose Labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France.
The symbolism of the Labyrinth
The path through the labyrinth is represented by the gaily coloured Kaffe Fasset fabric. Which is also the same as the fabric outside the labyrinth. The reason for this illustrates the first two symbols.
Firstly it represents the many attractive distractions of the everyday world in which we live.
Secondly the Path to the Centre is to be found in the midst of the world. Most of us can’t lock ourselves away in monasteries or on mountain tops, we have to find the Divine in the everyday.
The third symbol is the fact that while we are on the Path we can see only snatches of the design. Nothing really makes sense to us. We just have to have faith and hope that by putting one foot in front of the other we will arrive at the Centre.
The fourth symbol is the whole flower at the Centre. The fact that wholeness is restored once you reach the Centre.
The fifth symbol represents the third or vertical dimension which is the only one by which we can see the whole design and through which we can even see beyond the Labyrinth to see the pattern of the whole fabric. This represents the omniscience that belongs solely to the Divine.
I hope you like it.
Well I’ve spent most of the day listening to audio books while I hand appliquéd the labyrinth. What I find interesting is that you can see the pattern beneath the labyrinth through it quite readily. Your brain sort of fills in the missing bits. A bit like looking through a fence.
Anyway I thought I’d give you a small glimpse of what it looks like. Hopefully it will be finished soon.