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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sacred Threads

On Friday, I drove to Reynoldsburg, Ohio (east of Columbus) to see the 5th annual "Sacred Threads" Quilt exhibition. Predominantly an exhibition of art quilts, Vikki Pignatelli created the juried exhibition "to provide a safe venue for quilters of all faiths who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey. Our objective has been to create a moving display of textile art that touches those who view it on both spiritual and personal levels." (Show booklet, p. 3).

This was the first year I attended the show and it was fabulous. 216 quilts submitted by 172 quilters from across the United States and Canada. The exhibition is divided into six areas: expressions of joy, spirituality, inspiration, grief, healing and peace/brotherhood. Artist's statements were hung next to the quilt which told the story of the concept of the quilt. The booklet says "Through these statements we hope to share the experiences of quilters whose stories may provide a sense of healing, strength, and encouragement to others." (ibid.).



In addition, a special collection of 16 quilts made by the inmates of the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio were included.

The show continues through tomorrow (Sunday, June 28). I encourage anyone who can to see it tomorrow. If you are able, do put it on the list of things you must do in 2011, but it's only open for 2 weeks.

The quilts are hung in "cubbys" and one long "hall" of quilts at the Reynoldsburg High School.
When I was leaving, I overheard the lady at the desk say something about how she hoped the new people who were coming in would like it, even though there were some dark quilts.


Maybe they were, but I found all of them absolutely wonderful. Even the "dark ones" were uplifting to me as I saw that these quilts were the individuals growth and healing in working with their grief. They were sharing a wonderful and beautiful aspect of their lives, and life is not always pretty.

To be able to go forward is one of the most wonderful aspects of the human condition. To share, even grief, is another. There is that saying which is something to the effect that you can't see the mountains without the valleys.

I hope to share a number of these quilts which I thought were particularly wonderful over several posts, so do come back often.

This particular quilt is "Yellow Hat Philosopher" by Jean Farmer of Baltimore, OH. The quilt is her rendition of a photograph of her son, Bart Monk, taken by her twin sister. Bart was killed in a car accident five years ago. "Although a common, fun-loving guy, Bart thought deep thoughts. These words were found scribbled in a notebook in his room: 'Jesus once said, the kingdom of God is within. All your aspirations, all your goals, all your love, your truth, your innocence, your hope. You are the kingdom of God. Achieve it.

Then he wrote: 'We are all blind men in a cave, searching for a candle lit 200(0) years ago." (Jean Farmer's artist's statement.).

Even though this piece is an expression of grief, I see so much positive in it. The quilt is bright and cheery, and I feel that his words have a lot of truth and are sort of breath taking in their own right.


Here is "Juxtaposition, " by Geri Congdon of Portland, Oregon. Gerri is relatively new to quilting as she has only been quilting for the last 8 years and is presently 70 years old.

Gerri saw the Dome of the Rock (from the western wall ) in Jerusalem on a trip she took last May which she calls a pilgrimage, a "sacred journey, visiting places that have been sacred to many religions for so many years."

It is a calming piece and deftly done.

The last piece for tonight is "Serenity (Zen Garden)" by Kate Themel from Cheshire, Connecticut. I love the colors in the quilt. My photo didn't do the colors justice, and so Kate shared her photo with me to post here.







Kate wrote: "Serenity is based on the concept of water running over smooth stones, as in a Zen garden. Creating this composition was a meditative process for me; each satin 'stone' was placed with deliberate attention and care. During times of illness or stress throughout my life I have found comfort in meditation and prayer. I believe these moments of quiet reflection have a healing affect on the body and spirit.

The colors and shapes in this design are meant to convey a soothing, calm atmosphere. The loosely flowing ribbon represents water, a symbol of life and renewal.

I have tried to contact all the artists whose quilts appear here, and I've managed to get quite a few, but I'm waiting for others. I hope you'll enjoy this virtual tour of the pieces which I thought were particularly noteworthy, or which just spoke to me on some level.

3 comments:

Vivien said...

Thanks for sharing. I've always wondered what the show was like; it looks wonderful. Looking forward to seeing more about it.

Shady Character said...

Looks like some interesting work there. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the quilts.

Michigoose said...

I agree Vivien! I've been wondering, and I'm very self-conscious about the technical aspects of my quilts...next time I won't be.

Mark, thanks so much! It is an extremely interesting show. I always appreciate quilts with meaning. Lisa