October 27, 2013

At the Intersection of Divine and Cloth

For years, I have been trying to create an image of my very well-defined sense of the divine. I've used colored pencils, pastels, sticks with acrylics, sticks with oil and the net result is always the same.

I discover yet again that I cannot draw.

But folks over at Spirit Cloth say everyone can draw and so I ran out and bought two art pencils and a copy of Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain. I am sure that when I actually get beyond page 2 and remember where I put those pencils, my hands may start to express what I see.  But until then, well, I just close my eyes and get lost in the vision.

I believe that our day-to-day world is like a blanket...a colorful cloth of the ordinary and perhaps even the extraordinary stuff that entails being alive. And every once in a while, there's something shining in a little tear at the seams. A shimmer of godliness that we touch, only here and there. When you knit an intimate moment with a friend...when you hear a longlost voice on the phone and you had just dreamed about that person the previous night...when your garden makes beefsteak tomatoes or a bunch of titanium gives you back what your arthritic knee took away.

What you touch when you feel grateful.

Anyway, that's what...wait, did someone say "cloth?" "Colorful cloth?"  Like this?
individual blocks on the design wall

I spent the summer sewing all my woven blocks together, with no real big picture in mind other than I just wanted to weaven them all together. They were originally random events, these weavings, and so putting them together left...you guessed it...holes scattered between all the blocks. 

But I still didn't think of what must already be obvious to you. But this month, I got well on my way into my class in the Jewish mystical text written by my new boyfriend, The Rebbe of Ger. He echoes the Hassidic principle that the material world was formed by an implosion that scattered sparks of the divine throughout the world. It is our job to retrieve these sparks, to bring them together again. And when we do an act of kindness, of charity, of just acting righteously, well,we feel the light of the spark we just picked up.

See why I love this guy? Better yet, see why I love quilting?
blocks woven together, with little sparks filling in the holes
Betty Edwards, eat your heart out.


  1. cloth making to me is a way to look for god, yes?

    1. I feel like it is not looking, but actually finding. The process is like praying, isn't it?

  2. beautiful words & work!
    but I will play the devil's advocate here and say I liked it better when there was holes and the lines wobbled more like life really...
    "Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in."
    from Leonard Cohen's song Anthem

    1. Well, the first picture was the blocks completely unpieced, just put up on the design wall. Which would make them hard to throw over the bed!! I will post a close up of this next step, believe me there are holes and wobbles enough to make you grin ear to ear...

  3. and yet again, such a wonderfully witty story of cloth, daily life, the divine and holes, oh Julie you always bring a smile to my face which is stuck there for quite some time, thank you
    btw I like both versions - maybe you will make another one.....

    1. Thank you thank you,...and for the record, the first pic is of the unpieced blocks just stuck to the design wall. And you just reminded me of the night I first put them up on the wall, which was the blog post about setting my hair on fire. Talk about divine sparks--boy, it all come together, doesn't it??!?

  4. You have caught these sparks in your cloth, Julie. I love it, all these colors and stories.
    Doris (from what-if)

    1. I am so happy that you think that, Doris. I have to stitch them in and perhaps the thread will do some more imaging for me, we will see. I embroider about as well as I draw. Thanks for coming by!