Saturday, April 14, 2018

Quilting the background to backing

It has become apparent that before I can settle a spiral into place on the background of deep waterways, it could be best to attach it to a backing with the wadding in order to stabilize it, then work with what is needed to cover the hole in the middle – ultimately with the spiral. It will be sort of like working from the bottom up, starting with the backing itself, then going to the centre of the spiral, the ‘deepest’ part, but it will form the foundation for the spiral as it rises to the surface. I’m thinking of the small central circle in the depths as the cauldron, mysterious and powerful, holding, stirring and melding the Universal Wisdom. I’m not altogether abandoning the original plan to have a waning moon sitting in the spiral, but have come across another lovely, simple spiral by way of a drawing that I could print onto this point of the abyss of great gnowings. It comes from pottery found in the prehistoric art of Old Europe as recorded by Judy Foster.[1]

Having come to some realization about the steps I need to go through to get to where I want to go, I start to get a sense of urgency: let’s get moving! So I disregard a fanciful idea to attach small patches to the hand-dyed backing fabric with hand written attributes of the croning process, to form a gird structure as a foundational matrix.[2] They can be attached by hand later if I still want to go down that path, and I still have my gum leaves to use somewhere. And I push aside my anxiety about having the quilting ridges that will possibly be formed when the spiral is attached…and start with the red-stitch quilting into the ‘grid formed by the branches.

These ‘branches’ become more redolent with symbolisms as I quilt, blossoming into other fields of significance. The branches stretching out from the centre were first conceived as branches of a tree overhead, when looking up towards the sky. They could also be seen as the overhead branches being reflected on the surface of the water. I can see them as veins and arteries, making connections with the whole body of humans, stretching back in time and across the planet. More about the spiral in next post.

[1] Judy Foster with Marlene Derlet, 2013, Invisible women of prehistory: three million years of peace, six thousand years of war, Spinifex Press: Victoria
[2] This idea of the grid sprang to life in my reading of Kim Mahood’s book Position doubtful (2016, Scribe Publications: Victoria), in which she describes the action of an elder in the area of the Tanami Desert drawing a grid of lines in the sand, cut through by a jagged curve as he describes the route taken by the Canning Stock Route across aboriginal lands.

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