It is clear that this small art quilt, begun over 15 years ago, wanted to have a showing. And so, after more work on it in the last few moths, it’s getting one in Braemar’s “Summer exposure” exhibition in Springwood over the 2016-17 holiday season. It originally started life as a ‘still life’ vase, with a small patch of night sky left over from a previous quilt, and flowers gleaned from the fabrics of all types in my stash, mostly furnishing fabrics, which were then fused to the wallpapered background of a room with a recessed window. It was always intended that a moon be present, thereby influencing the choice of fabric flowers and their shadings. With the vase full to over-loaded, I had decided to do some hand stitching into the flower centres using embroidery thread. Perhaps I would have done more stitching, but energy levels have been intermittent this year since beginning my treatments with Immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma. I just wanted it finished! And that was facilitated with the help of fellow textile artist, Kerry Beaumont, who spent the best part of a day bringing my floral arrangement into low relief with her skilled free machining – the extra layer of wadding behind the flowers helping to create this effect. (Thanks Kerry!)
I remember having thought about a title many years ago: “Full moon rising” (…remember Credence Clearwater? Well, not that ‘bad’ moon…!), with the moon just creeping over the windowsill into the night sky. But Moon didn’t show up till near the end and came sliding in sideways, in full glory. Suddenly the goddess prints I’d had in my stash for about the same length of time called, and the Bird-headed Goddess of the Nile from around second millennia BCE (or even earlier) jumped onto the foreground, holding her arms aloft as though celebrating the abundance and fullness of life that Earth brings every summer season. She took her place in a frame on the checkered tablecloth as an expected, and very powerful arrival, In spite of being in the shadows, upstaged by the floral arrangement, as it were, she represents renewing energy of light from darkness - very appropriate for this time of year as we move towards the height of light at Summer Solstice...then prepare ourselves for the onset of the dark half of the year.
It was then I started to rethink a more appropriate title to express this mood of celebrating the generous, renewing energy of the planet. I have always loved the poem by Doreen Valiente, “The Charge of the Goddess”, which aligns humans fairly and squarely as one with Nature, ourselves Nature and Goddess. Initially I had thought “flourishing” to be a good subtitle, until I considered the three elements that this quilt in coming to fruition recognised: the resilience of Earth’s natural processes, regardless of what we as the human race do to the creatures of the planet; the resilience of the quilt to hold out in one piece to be finished; and my own personal resilience in dealing with what has come to be a life-threatening health situation. Hence the subtitle became “Resilience”. This word has moved from one I had previously identified as meaning “putting up with, tolerating an unpleasant situation” to one of finding personal power and integrity in the face of difficult situations.
The poem, attached to the back of the quilt, is shown here.
THE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon
among the stars and the mystery of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me
For I am the soul of Nature that gives life to the Universe.
From me all things proceed and unto me they must return.
Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold,
all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery.
For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold I have been with you from the beginning, and I am
that which is attained at the end of desire.
This quilt is for sale: POA
Next blog: more preparation for Rob’s personal story quilt. Blessed be!