Thursday, April 15, 2010

Continuing with the back of the deacon stole

I feel I've made good progress with this stole over the past two days in spite of unavoidable appointments, a Hospice commitment, and several long telephone conversations with friends (all satisfying!) These images are of the piece which will become the back of the stole. The top two were taken when it was on my cutting table. The bottom two images were taken when the piecing was complete and hung vertically on my design wall. I'm struck by how "serpent-like" the sprial is (and I wanted it to represent water!) I browsed in the reference section of the public library today (so much more satisfying than using an on-line browser!) and found several books on symbols. Here's what Miranda Bruce-Mitford had to say about spirals in The Illustrated Book of Signs & Symbols: "Energy was once believed to flow in spiral form. The spiral symbolizes masculine and feminine energy and the energy of both sun and moon. It is the great swirling force of the whirlwind and the movement of the heavens. It is a manifestation of the energy in nature, and is related to the powerful imagery of the serpent. The spiral also symbolizes the circlings of the soul, which eventually return to the center, or truth."

Isn't that a wonderful sentiment?

Another challenge I'm having with this project is the fit. I'm sewing this for a woman who is 5'8" tall, and it's a surprise. Her mother has measured her, and I in turn measured a friend who is also 5'8"...well, their measurements from shoulder to hip aren't the same! That's a critical bit of information because the front and the back of a deacon stole are joined at the hip. I also wonder if the join should be at the hip bone (e.g. where the pelvis can be felt) or lower down at the widest part of the hip (which is where a dressmaker would measure the hip). Any ideas? Does anyone have an opinion about how far from the floor the lower edge should be?

I had thought that I would have to make these decisions at the outset, but I realized yesterday that I can adjust the length from the shoulder or from the lower edge. I've therefore cut the foundation fabric as large as I think I would need, and can trim as necessary.

Here are some more interesting quotes about spirals. Jack Tresider writes in Dictionary of Symbols, "The spiral as an open and flowing line suggests extension, evolution and continuity, uninterrupted concentric and centripetal movement, the very rhythm of breathing and of life itself." Another author, J.E. Cirlot, in A Dictionary of Symbols, writes "...most theorists are agreed that the symbolism of the spiral is fairly complex and of doubtful origin. Its relationship...with water has been provisionally admitted. Going right back to the most ancient traditions, we find the distinction being made between the creative spiral (rising in a clockwise direction...) and the destructive spiral like a whirlwind (which twirls to the left...)"
I am so happy that my spirals are twirling to the right and thus indicative of creativity!! But it probably has more to do with the fact that I'm right-handed, and this is how I naturally doodle and draw spirals!

1 comment:

  1. How do I go about contacting you. I'm quite interest in having one of these made. I like this shape for sure, and have a design in mind as well. You can email me at

    Thanks Kate.