Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mary from the Book of Kells: February Spiritual Challenge

I made February's spiritual challenge quilt for a Miami Valley Art Quilt Network exhibit at the Centerville Library (Woodburne branch). The exhibit opens on Sunday, March 15, with an artist's reception from 2-4. The quilts for the show are lovely, many of them focusing on the amazing knot work in many of the illuminated borders of the book. I loved the image of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus.

My artist's comment in the brochure reads: The baby Jesus in the Book of Kells is more a toddler than a baby.
He may be even older, notice how his legs hang down. With two boys of my own, I like this image of Mary staying attached to her growing child instead of sending him into the world without hope of returning to love as soon as he could walk. I like to think that this strong foundation of love that I imagine in this image allowed him to spread the gospel of love throughout his world. The story of Jesus in the temple teaching the elders when he was a bit older lets us know that she also gave him freedom, but this image of Jesus as a loved child is very moving to me. I didn’t reproduce the lovely page on which the image appears, but instead tried to echo motifs from the page and other important Celtic symbols. The triple spiral in the corners is seen by some to symbolize the eternal spirals of life, our connection with nature, or the three ages of woman hood—virgin, mother, crone. I like that in the iconography of Mary she embodies all three of those ages—virgin, Holy Mother, and wise Queen.

I carved the stamp of the triple spirals and used Lumiere paint to stamp it on. The background is pieced and the figures are fused and heavily quilted. Lisa Quintana said that she felt sure the sceptre the angel on the right is holding was to whack Jesus if he got out of line. I'm sure the angel only used a gentle tap. I wish I had some otherworldly help to keep my twelve-year-old in line. Angels may be everywhere, but I don't think I have one with a prodding sceptre hanging around, or my son would surely not talk back quite so much.

When I get it back, I think I'll proabably add some beading to it. I ran out of time and just beat Lisa to the library for the drop off.


Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Lori, this is just lovely. Thanks for sharing the image for us.

Heather P said...

Lori, how wonderful! I spent a semester many years ago studying the Book of Kells and have loved it ever since. Such amazing colors and graphics! You have captured the image very well.

Michigoose said...

Hi Lori! Sorry I missed you today...another late night finishing up the Celtic Blue Herons. :)
Remind me again, why did you chose the 12" x 12" format?

There were so many spectacular quilts out of the 15 submitted...and I want to throw my seahorse in the dumpster. Yours was one of my favorites and it is definitely not dumpster material.