Friday, July 17, 2015

A “Universe” quilt, commissioned by Jan (January 2015)

The starting point: in the dark!
It’s not often that one is asked to represent the Universe in a quilt – let alone a small quilt to hang on a wall. I have fabrics cut in preparation for my own Universe quilt, which I hope one day I will sleep under – when it is finished! My quilt is quite simple, based on a design fom a quilt book. Using mostly hand-dyed cottons cut into various widths and pieced together quite randomly is the idea – though “random” is hard for me since I have to relinquish control.
I made a quilt for friend Jan a few year ago, which was called “The magpie quilt”, and was based on her memoir “Coming home to myself” (previous blog 6/12/12). Jan has asked me to record in fabric for her walls another (unwritten) chapter of her story: the influence of the bodies and energies of what we know as “the Universe” (– though we may not really know its extent).
Jan tells me in a brief email about her concepts of the Universe, revealing possible underlying themes, which could include stories of the ‘feminine and the sisterhood of all women’ as ‘expressions of the universal essence as is all form that is manifest – from the tiniest to the grandest… all the vitality and unity, manifested in different forms – often very fleeting – eternal and fleeting.’ Jan recognizes the paradox in this exchange of the fleeting nature of universal energy, becoming manifest and returning to energy, and although I ‘get it’ in my mind/body system, I wonder how such can be represented – manifested in a small quilt, big ideas in a small space is always a challenge.

Then some symbolic representations are provided: ‘moon, sun and the seasons, and stars.’ Important stars are the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, which Jan looks at with the naked eye, as well as seeing them through telescope: ‘they are beautiful and magical'. Jan acknowledges the wide range of myths associated with the constellation, where so often the female aspect of these stories is ‘subsumed into the male stories’. So, this is the 'brief', in brief, and the spark of inspiration germinating in the dark. Next installment coming very soon.

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