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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sacred Threads Exhibition: Meditation & Peace

Tonight, I feel battered as only the mother of a teenage daughter can feel and frustrated by attempting to work with photos in Photoshop Elements 2.0 when the directions of what I'm trying to do are written for 7.0. !!! So, I thought exploring the concepts of mediation and peace which were exhibited at Sacred Threads would be a good thing.



I love turquoise. I love yellow ochre and raw umber. Therefore, it is no surprise that this lovely piece entitled "Inner Voice 3: Finding Balance" by Marilyn Gillis of Shelburne, Vermont drew me to it. Then, when I read her statement, I was even more taken with it. Marilyn wrote: "Time in our life is a balancing act between everyday duties and that which fuels our passions."



How so very true! This is the struggle I've been dealing with daily. Not only do I love Marilyn's composition with the weight being at the "top", but the stitching (lines of running stitch in a heavier thread) give wonderful texture and provide a counterpoint to the round (or mostly round) shapes of the rocks. Her quilt is balanced, but it isn't in the way that most quilters would position it. I also love the shading in her hand-dyed fabric.


So, now I've prepared you for another "stones" quilt. At least in both cases I think of them as stones. This is Liz Berg's "Meditation Along the Path." Liz wrote: "Meditation is a wonderful way to become closer to the Spirit. Walking along a pathway allows one the time to meditate. Additionally, quilting is a way to meditate and each stitch becomes a prayer. May we all take time to meditate."


I agree wholeheartedly! I find that hand stitching whether quilting or piecing brings great peace. The rhythm of the hands has a zen-like quality and I find myself thinking of things, or nothing.

Even machine quilting brings the same feeling. I know that some people feel like they are fighting the machine and don't come to that at first. However, the more you do it, the more you come to realize that getting in "the zone" produces a better quilting job as well as provides an optimal experience mentally.

Liz has a website with lots of interesting things: http://www.lizbergartquilts.com/



Along the same meditative path is this piece by Kathryn Sweigart of Saginaw, Michigan.

Kathryn wrote: "The Long Dark Night of the Soul is about a time of intense spiritual searching in my own life. It is about a wilderness journey that while taken alone, has been walked before. Jesus Himself experienced 40 days in the wilderness. Such a spiritual journey is a mixture of positives and negatives. The circumstances leading to this time are often very negative but despite the difficulty and loneliness, it is also a time of great spiritual growth. It is only long after leaving the wilderness that the beauty of this time can truly be appreciated."



Her design is a labyrinth. While probably the first thing which comes to mind when one says "labyrinth" is "minotaur" because of the association with Greek mythology, labyrinths were mazes which are also used to assist meditation. Following a labyrinth as a walking path or even to trace your fingers along it can bring peace to your soul. In some cases, they are also used in healing.

I also feel that a labyrinth can be a metaphor for life. There are many tangles, side trails and diversions to get to the center, but there is a beginning and and end, an entrance and an exit.


As I mentioned in my previous post, Sacred Threads has room for all faiths. Here is M. Denise Johnson's "Wash My Spirit Clean." Denise is from Ashland, Oregon and here's what she had to say in her artist's statement:
"This quilt was created intuitively while listening to Native American music. As my favorite Cherokee song says, "Go and pray beside the ocean. Go and pray upon the mountain, and you'll wash your spirit clean." I believe the time spent in Nature is one of the best ways to restore balance to my life, to clear my mind and nourish my spirit."
See? Another turquoise, yellow ochre quilt! Her beading which takes you off the edge with "water droplets" is fabulous. I love her lettering on the quilt and the wonderful shading and use of color.


Similar in some ways to Kathryn Sweigart's labyrinth is this mandala made by Ellie Pancoe of Mount Desert, Maine. A mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist design (for lack of a better term) which assists in healing, mediation, and the creation of a sacred space. It is a spiritual teaching tool.

Here's what Ellie had to say:
"'The Peace Quilt' is a mandala. Mandalas have been created in many cultures to represent the completeness of the universe, both on a personal and cosmic level. The image is always circular, as the circle symbolizes the cycles of life, both in nature and in the human world. The circle is also a universal symbol of wholeness and healing. In this quilt, the interwoven fabrics of the central circle represent this integrated view of the world. The outer band contains the Hebrew prayer for peace, coming from my own tradition of Judaism. Without wholeness, there is no peace."
I'm sorry the color is so off. Working under fluorescent light and trying to figure out if the flash helped or hurt was difficult. It is a very nicely done piece with wonderful colors.


If you have been reading my other posts, you will find that my thoughts often turn to the strife in the world. It's no wonder then that Carol Bridges' "Can we Sew Peace by Morning" is one of the quilts which spoke to me.
In her artist's statement, Carol wrote:
“Can We Sew Peace by Morning” came to me after thinking about the war in Iraq and the many wars that have plagued humankind. Quilters are a very compassionate people, often devoting hours of work into a quilt to be given to someone in need. This quilt depicts five women and a child, each expressing a slightly different emotion which they have embroidered into the quilt of the world as the sun begins to rise in the background. The fringe depicts that which is yet unfinished, threads of love not yet woven into the fabric of the world. "
Carol has wonderful pieces on her website, http://www.carolbridgesartquilts.com/ You really owe it to yourself to go and take a look. I love quilts with symbolism and which have a message. Oh, and did you notice what colors she used?
Now, after a tough day I need to go and stitch some "peaces" into my soul. I apologize once again for the quality of my shots, but I do want to share them with you. Please remember, these quilts and my photos are not to be used in any way without permission of the artist (the quilter).











4 comments:

Lisa Ellis said...

I love the pieces you are choosing to show. I admit that I am the proud owner of Liz Berg's piece. I bought it based on her photo before I saw it at the show. It now hangs in my studio reminding me to slow down.

Michigoose said...

Thanks Lisa! You lucky dog to have Liz's piece. How nice to be able to keep it in front of you!

I wish that Kathryn Sweigart's piece photographed better. I noticed on the Sacred Threads CD that it had the same problem that I did...the fabric is so dark that it absorbs everything and you don't have the contrast, yet to use the "brighten" capability in photo editing seems like altering the artist's work....

You did good work on the CD. I wish I had known that the artist's statement was on it as I wouldn't have photographed each artist statement , switching from close up setting to regular....I messed up several of the quilt shots that way! I intend to have a link to the Sacred Threads site so that others may buy the CD.

Lisa Q.

katyquilts said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing my quilt. I was not able to go to the Sacred Threads show so it was very neat to find a pic of it "in situ" here on your blog. My quilt, "Long Dark Night of the Soul" was truly a bear to photograph! Take care, Katy (Kathryn Sweigart)

Michigoose said...

Thank you Katy! I think that we all owe you a big hug for sharing it. Lisa