If you had asked me to make an art quilt for Advent, it would never have looked like this.
Improv provides mystery. It is unpredictable. And special.
Details of the overall design and symbols for the first two weeks of Advent were discussed in my previous post. Then I became worried. There was space for two large elements, one border, a few small spots and filler stitches for all four candles. It was the large spaces in particular that had me worried. Would there be anything to put in them?
In the last song of the third week I had my answer. “…Into the desert and into the night I’m going to send my sweet pure light…”. I already had light going into what looked like night. All I was missing was the desert.
Then I sat on pins and needles waiting for the 4th Sunday of Advent in order to complete the 4th circle.
Other things started to go wrong, or so I thought. “Born a child, and yet a king” required something kingly and all I could think of was a crown. It would have to be near the center and would have to be in all four quadrants. Once stitched, I hated it. There was no choice but to keep going. I was just glad I had stitched it purple so that it faded into the background. A crown has to have gems, so this one received circle diamonds.
The concept of ‘come’ is an interesting one that I have contemplated for several years. The only symbol I could think of was that of open arms. Once again, it had to be connected to the center candle, going out in all directions. The call is all inclusive to the weary, hungry, joyful, broken, those with faith and those without. You may have thought it was a star but there is no star in Advent and the fact that it looks like a star was unexpected.
Another surprise occurred with the hearts. I contemplated adding hearts in the first week when I read the words “bind in one the hearts of humankind” but considered it too common of a symbol. Then in the third week it came up again as “The Lord looks on the heart…” I added hearts on all four sides, between the candles, in essence connecting the glow of one week to the next. Then it occurred to me that the spaces where the candle rings overlapped (containing the words come, cry, watch, and wait), and later used for the flames of refining fire now looked like eyes. Could I be reading too much into this? Sure. But there are no rules here.
So do you want to know what is in the center of the fourth candle? It wasn’t easy. This is what I had to work with “…(I was) dried up river…burned out forest …You brought the spring time green of new life…”. Somehow it went with the ‘…broken in so many ways…’ that I had put into the border of this candle in week one and the love theme.
The filler stitches were added at the end. Candles 1 and 3 received a meandering stitch representing storm clouds in week one, and ‘untie the cords’ in week three. A spiral stitch was used for weeks 2 and 4 – first to repent, turn around, and then as water.
This simple 25 square inch quilt contains the essence of the Advent story.