|Liturgical Vestments - Chasubles - Quilts - Wall Hangings||Website by Quick Connect | Lincoln & Omaha|
The idea for this quilt image came to me about 8 years ago as I was reading "The Way: Using the Wisdom of Kabbalah for "Spiritual Transformation and Fulfillment" by Rabbi Michael Berg. As I was reading, he described the experience of "bat kol." It literally means a voice from above...that each of us experiences this moment of inner spiritual awakening. "Bat Kol" is a sudden flash of the Creator's Light. It is a gentle whisper that calls us to draw closer. "Bat Kol" is a beacon of light that passes over us with no-strings-attached gifting. Our Creator's Light is to be received as a friend is received lovingly into our lives. What a concept!! No hell and damnation that we are all afraid of which makes us run lickity split from relationship with God. Just love, kindness, and generosity of mercy. Wow. Now I can LOVE that God in return and really feel welcome into His/Her arms.
And God was not in the whirlwind
Sometimes I feel as though I am in the middle of a storm, the "eye" of the storm. Everything around me is swirling a million miles a minute and all I can do is just watch it. Poor Job finally heard from God through a whirlwind after his sufferings. God didn't explain why Job endured the things that he did, but he sure did make sure that Job understood that he was in charge by asking, "Where were you when I.....?" Psalms 77 says that at one time God did speak out of the whirlwind and earthquake. Yet later, when Elijah had a time in his life when he wanted to hear from God directly, God revealed himself in a whole new way. One of quietness and intimacy. "And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
Nora and Elizabeth
Friendship: a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. This is the reason that I like attending the church I attend, which is St. Mark's On the Campus Episcopal. The people there are loving and full of friendship for one another. When I began to attend there in 1999, I was welcomed with open arms of love, and it made such an impact on me that the next year I became a member. I had already had the wonderful experience of acceptance and love as a member of First Plymouth UCC Congregational Church in the 90s that I really had no reason to leave except that I felt God was calling me to do just that. So I did. It was at St. Mark's that my love of working with fabrics to make liturgical vestments flowered. Of course, the next avenue for creative activities was making quilts. Among the first was for my friend, Holly, and my son, Kenneth's girlfriend, Buffy. And now look where it has all led. The young women who own these quilts are to me example of what friendship is all about. They are 8th graders on the cusp of life. Their friendship will probably last for a long, long time. I have friends that I have not seen for 25 years or more, but the memory of our friendship is a stabilizing force in my life. And friendship with those "older" friends and "newer" friends is a foundation of my personality that will never leave me. And even in my quest for solitude in these days, I am still emotionally close to my friends. The quilt for Nora came first around two years ago, along with one for her sister, Helen. I am friends with their mother and have been since coming to St. Mark's. She is a very valued mentor to me also. The idea for a quilt for Liz came early last fall. I had a lot of fabric left over and it was just laying around. One day, the idea popped into my mind that maybe I should make a quilt for Liz. I had seen their friendship every week and thought how great to have that. To me, it is a way to describe what friendship is. You have the same fabrics, even though new fabric can be added. However, the fabric itself is used in different ways to come up with an altogether new creation. You can see, even, that some of the blocks are the same. The blocks are supposed to be the same size, yet you can see that one quilt is slightly larger than the other. Go figure!!!
Rest Areas in my Journey
Broomskirts are my favorite daytime wear. This quilt is made from the leftover fabric of two skirts that was cut away in a downsizing effort. I first made the colorful blocks and then cut out the non-colorful blocks. I them cut out "quarter moons" and sewed them into the opposite blocks. After that, all of the blocks were put into a bag and brought out one by one in a random manner. The corner that my finger landed on was the upper left corner in the sewing process. Even though the process was random, I can see patterns of sorts that look like open spaces. In my spiritual journey, they would relate to rest places along a difficult way.
It Aint All Black and White
If you notice, there are no blocks alike in the inner portion of the quilt. There are 64 blocks and each of them is arranged in a different order using the black and white fabrics. Same concept in each of the blocks, too - a quarter circle in a block. There are some people who would make you believe that everything is black and white. No exceptions, and no shades in between. Well, they are wrong. Everything is an underlying meaning or theme or reason for being. If 64 blocks could be made using four points of diversity, i.e. black fabric, white fabric, quarter portion and non-quarter portion of the block, imagine how diverse this world is with 100,000 or more points of diversity. If I were to symbolize the red part of the quilt, I suppose it would be to describe life itself - the red stuff pumping through our bodies which draws from the oxygen that our lungs breathes in as it does its job. But it could also be the lifeblood of the prophets through the ages which gives us our values as boundaries in all of our diversity. And I am not just talking about Jewish prophets, prophets that have been adopted by Christianity, but also prophets of all religions that bring order, kindness, mercy, caring about others, and above all, love to our existence. I aint all black and white!!
This was by far a most difficult quilt for me. Don't have a clue as to why, except for the teeny, tiny pieces in it. But maybe more than that, all of the joined pieces are all gathered up into one tiny space. I used the paper piecing method, but it was still off on some blocks. About two weeks ago, I woke up early and saw the most beautiful sight in the clouds. The sun rays were reflecting off of the morning clouds and the colors represented were the exact colors in this quilt. I took a picture, but, unfortunately, it did not turn out well. Should have used my camera phone.Oh well. That maybe the message of the quilt, if there was a message. Things turn out beautiful in spite of their flaws. The best effort was expended, so just go with the flow and enjoy!!!
Girl Scouts Forever
As a lot of young girls growing up, I belonged to the Girl Scouts. We could learn almost whatever we wanted to learn, which included science, politics, camping activities, and other things that seemed to be a natural part of what boys learned. I felt so empowered learning this "forbidden" knowledge. Today, this bias is not present, thank goodness. When it came time for me to go to college, seeing through my small town consciousness, it seemed that the only careers available to me were teacher, nurse, secretary, or housewife. It didn't occur to me that my gift of music could really be developed into a successful career. So, through years of unchallenged consciousness, I frittered my gift away by lack of effort and practice to increase its value. No dream, no fulfillment of that dream. Today, I see the choices that women have in careers and I am astounded. Young women are encouraged to dream early in life, and to me this is the concept of Girl Scouts. Dream early and be guided by mentors who will help you fulfill that dream. Today women can obtain a degree to become a lawyer and actually take the bar to be a lawyer. They can be department heads in interesting fields of study. And women are allowed to be ordained in this day, too, and even be elected a Presiding Bishop as the Episcopal Church did in electing the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2007. "It's a girl!!" was the proud announcement. Sidnie, or Rev. Dr. White-Crawford more formally addressed, is the prime example of the blessing that the shattering of the social ceiling of women's "place in society" has accomplished. There are women all over who are now able to fulfill their life's purpose and are able to stand before God giving an account of their gifts, too. Bravo for Girl Scouts forever!!!
"Redemption" is the story of a dress that would have been thrown out with the trash had not someone intervened. The dress was in a situation, infamous and humiliating, after its owner lost a great deal of weight. She stood up during church and the skirt decided to not stand up with her. When I found out that the outfit would be thrown out, I said, "No, no, let me have it. I can make a quilt out of it." A lot of ideas later, almost a year and a half of them, it finally came together and instead of the dress being thrown away, it is the centerpiece of this beautiful quilt. It is the best way I know of signifying what God does with us when we place ourselves in God's loving care after our own lives have been trashed.
Issues in our lives are not simply black and white. Some issues are gray. And then there is the occasional insight that drops in to help make some of those issues more clear. This quilt represents thoughts I have on my journey. Some seem black and some seem white, but most of them are really gray areas that I have no clue concerning. The red border is representative of the life blood of my journey. It is the life giving source that separates me from to total blackness of the universe. It is also that force which inspires me to continue on this journey because I know that tomorrow I may dance with the dancing galaxies of the universe. My cousin chose this quilt because it reminded her of the black and white keyboard of a piano. She has fond memories of my piano talents while we were growing up. Isn't it funny how one quilt brings up entirely different emotional contexts.
There are six blocks in this wall hanging that are obvious pieces of artwork. Each of the hand drawn and colored blocks was created by a young person in the Middle School Sunday school class. I was asked to create a quilt which was to include each art piece to be given to one of the teachers who had undergone a health crisis. Easy, huh??? Not!!! It took me a little over a year to come up with the idea because I wanted it to be original and to offset each block properly. I research I don’t know how many quilt books for ideas. All to no avail. Then one day I was looking in my notebooks just for the heck of it, and saw this block idea that I had done a few years back and I knew that was the block I was supposed to use. I ransacked my fabric stash and found glorious fabric and, of course, had to purchase more. What can I say?? I love fabric. Anyway, I was amazed at how the design brought out the beauty of each individual block and how they all combined into one cohesive whole which is professional looking and interesting. I am not for sure who all of the donors were, since they did not have names on all of the blocks, but I do know two of them. The "moom" block was created by Nora, whose quilt is two quilts over, and thetop "cross" block was created by Liz, next to this quilt. It is a small world after all.
"A Ballerina's Dream"
This quilt was made for a ballerina. When I began work on this art quilt, I thought about everything that is necessary for her to be successful. One, would be inspiration from the Muses; another, an ability to tap into the ocean of creativity; an ability to draw from the Tree of genius which, of course, is 99 percent perspiration which results in a blossoming and end result fruit of her labors.
Inner Hearts Waiting to be Mended
This wall hanging represents the work that Spiritual Directors or inner healers do. It was inspired by a friend who is a spiritual director and minister. I took the design on her business card and created the quilt based on it.
Lincoln has been dubbed "The Star City, USA." If I were to donate this, it would be to the City of Lincoln. I have lived here for 40 years, now, and I believe it is the cleanest, most diverse city in the world. Well, at least in the USA. We have cultures from all over the world with many religions and we had an interfaith organization called the Lincoln Interfaith Council that celebrated each of the represented faiths and more. Now, Omaha is taking on that tradition with their Tri-faith Initiative in which Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders are gathering to develop a common ground for dialogue. They are in the process of looking for land in Omaha where each of the faiths will have their own building, i.e. Synagogue, Church, and Mosque, but will work with each other and the community to maintain an open relationship and communication.
When exhibits have been at the Sheldon Art Gallery on the University campus which are about quilts, some of them have been marvelous shows featuring the quilts of Gee's Bend. There are numerous books available, too, which show the many quilts created by the African Americans over the century who lived and live there. One striking feature of some of the quilts is the "L" shape. So, when I doodled the block for this quilt, I noticed that it had "L"s, too. Maybe on an unconscious level I was telling myself that I, too, wanted my quilts to be famous like theirs were. But more importantly, I think I was telling myself that I hope my quilts have value to a person's soul as their quilts did in spite of their poverty to have to use whatever they could find for their beautiful creations.
Tears in the Garden of an Innocent Heart
This is an original block design by me called Paradise. I used it in this design to symbolize that the paradise of a child's life is sometimes shattered by interruptions of horror by abuse. I wanted people to focus on the beauty of the quilt while at the same time remembering that abuse of children and women is at an all time high all over the world. Innocence is destroyed at the whim of people who use others for their own pleasure. These tears cannot often be expressed and the pain a person experiences is so deep that it forever changes the person's life, values, and belief in goodness. Maybe when everyone realizes the pain in their own sphere of being they can effect change in their sphere of influence. Each person has his or her own story to tell and healing quilts facilitate the process. Symbols are sewn in the design which gives meaning to the person. It is a way to give voice to one's grief.
Wall hanging for a Calendar art presentation for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska. It now hangs in the Missions Services Office. Each of the plain squares has a quilted Madonna Emblem in it. Size 50 inches by 50 inches.
It was a statement about Judges who deal with issues of truth every day. The wall hanging is interwoven with imaginative portrayals of the grave decisions they make every day. It portrays a composite of several things a judge may encounter when rendering a verdict, such as: the heart of the issue; tall tales; wandering from the truth; slanted views; frayed nerves; waffling testimony; incomplete evidence; straying from facts; truth is more than black and white. Prices range from $75 to $150.
St. Jude's Hospital
Every year St. Jude's Hospital makes a call for quilts. This was my entry for 2003.Each block represents a ride at the fair and is appliqued on the quilt. Each figure is then outlined and filled in with needlework. The Ferris Wheel is all needlework with no applique.
In Memory of Aelred
Quilts of this kind are made with photographs of family members or pets. This particular one is in memory of a Chocolate Lab therapy dog named Aelred such as a new baby, a special party, or loved one who has passed on.
The many Levels of Inspiration
There are many layers of machine quilting each with its own different shade of gold or yellow. The different colored threads are associated with the different swirl designs. One design has light yellow, another dark gold, etc. This quilt reminds me of the different layers that inspiration has. One thought leads to another and to another until the original idea is ready to be committed to paper or cloth.
With a Little Help from my Friends
Have you ever felt like you were taking one step forward and two steps back in life?. Me, too. With a little help from my Friend, though, sometimes I feel I can take two steps forward and one step back. With the gift of consciousness one can see issues from another person's perspective. It is pretty hard to be judgmental from that point on. If you notice, there is a straight line between the new steps forward and one back. What could this mean?
It Dwells Within
What is it? With the symbolism of the red fabric, one could imagine that it represents anger or rage. Yet, the lighter color is on the bottom. What could this mean? The writer of the Gospel of Thomas says that, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." We do have whatever power we need. The design of the herringbone pattern is also a clue as to what dwells within.
Flames of Life
An original quilt block design to represent the surge of life which embodies everything there is. It is this life which brings forth flowers.
Eve - the Mother of all Living
Androcentrism teaches us to believe God is male. It also teaches that Adam was created in God's image, therefore, male. However, mankind of Genesis 1 was created male and female. In Genesis 3, Adam was created. God took the rib out of Adam and created Eve as a separate feminine being. Biblical sources state that the original text of rib could also mean side, so ... Adam had his feminine side taken out of him, pun intended. The emergence of Eve was the emergence of a female Adam. One might say that on that day a male Adam as a separate being was born also, since previously both the male and the female attributes were expressed within the one body of Adam.
Mary - of Magdalene
This Mary was a colorful woman to me. Legend abounds that she was a harlot, a sinful, fallen woman that supposedly had many flaws of character which required specific healing to correct. Still more legends say she was a powerful woman whose reputation was tainted by these accusations specifically because she was a powerful woman. It is speculated that she moved to a region in Gaul, now France, and was the respected founder of a church which is still in existence.
The Unnamed Woman of Judges 19
In a side thought, I also wish there were a Eucharist, so to speak, a ritual breaking of bread and drinking of wine, in remembrance of evil done to women who are rejected, misunderstood, betrayed and sometimes die as a result. An example is the concubine in Jewish Scripture, Judges 19, who was slain by vicious men when they raped her to death.
Quoted from 40 Flowers for Grief: a Journal of 40 weeks to help overcome debilitating Grief and Depression, Week 1, Thursday
Esther - The Right Woman at the Right Time
Here was a woman who was put in a position of importance at the right time. Her position meant the rescue of all of her people from danger of extinction. She had a relative of importance, also, since her father was the uncle of Mordecai. When her parents died, he raised her as his daughter. She was humble, though, and didn't go about bragging her status. She was smart, brave, and discreet. She didn't go about blabbing her intentions and quietly planned her course of action using her own wisdom. Oh that I could be that kind of woman!!
Naomi - The Bitter Woman
|Liturgical Vestments - Chasubles - Quilts - Wall Hangings||Website by Quick Connect | Lincoln & Omaha|