Shekinah, My Fabric Painting


I’ve been working on my fabric painting for the past week but haven’t been posting pictures with the progress that I’ve made.

Usually I love sharing that process step by step.

But last week, as I was working, I was reluctant to share  how I was finishing the piece.  With each step I took pictures as I often do, but then when it came time to post them on my blog, I just couldn’t get myself to do it.

So I decided to trust what I was feeling, believing that for some reason the timing wasn’t right.  I just kept working till I got it all done.

This morning I  sewed the last bead on Shekinah.

This is what has happened since I last wrote about it….

After finishing up the 102 House of Representative horseshoe shapes, aka the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dissent Collars, I saw how clearly the original appliquéd tulip not only had a vulva shape, but also looked like the phases of the moon.

There were four of the circular flowers still on the old quilt, evenly spaced around the center pubic triangle.

The one behind the giraffe’s heads had always been a sun in my mind, so I removed the other three.   Keeping one whole, for the full moon, I cut the others to become the phases of the moon,  from waxing to waining.

It was Sabina’s comment on my blog that helped crystalize the next step.  The outline of the tulip on the upper left of the quilt,  called out to me.

I immediately thought of the article that Sabina sent me about the West Coast Button Blankets.  These are ceremonial blankets made by Native Americans mostly from the West Coast of Canada.  They use shiny shell buttons  to decorate  the blankets with Family Crests.

I kept thinking of the circle left by the tulip appliqué as the New Moon.  Filling it in with shiny shell and plastic buttons seemed only natural.

The “stem” of the tulip, which is appliquéd using white fabric,  hung from the red border reaching down to the flower like a descending snake.  Using green thread, I hand stitched the outline of the stem then following the creases and puckers in the fabric of the stem,  I stitched around the puckered shapes that had emerged over time.

I colored the shapes in with permanent marker. Then I outlined the calyx around the flower with green beads.

New moon flower, with the green snake stem and beaded calyx.

Then I knew Shekinah was finished.

Between yesterday and today, I put on a backing and tacked it with a tiny sprinkling of beads.

I’ve written on my blog about the different parts of this fabric painting as I was creating it.  All the parts come  together to represent my idea of  Shekinah, the Divine Feminine in the Kabbalah.  It’s the Shekinah who fiercely protects Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine of the women today who are standing up for themselves and each other and speaking their truth.

It is the ancient and the contemporary.  It is us, seeking the wisdom of the feminine in our lives right now.

The old quilt that is the beginnings of Shekinah came from a  Victorian home, in San Francisco,  that had been in the same family for many years.

Most likely it was a  woman who hand stitched this quilt.  Over the years it has become worn and torn.  Whenever I use an old  piece of fabric that someone else made, I always think of that woman, even though I don’t know who is was.  I try to imagine her life and think about how much more freedom I have to create my art than she did when she was alive.

Linda sent  the quilt to me  with the hope that I could use it somehow.  I do wonder what the woman who made it would think if she could see it.  I do hope  she would be able to appreciate it, but I would understand if she couldn’t.

Shekinah is sold. for sale and I  have a few people who are already interested in it.  If it isn’t right for them, I will be posting it for sale on my blog.  It’s 38 1/2″ x 43″ and is $500 + shipping.


8 thoughts on “Shekinah, My Fabric Painting

  1. What an amazing legacy this quilt has become! Maybe the woman who made it wouldn’t understand but I can deeply feel the tracks of all the women that this quilt has touched. May it continue to touch and inspire for many more years – I’m sure it’s one of those 100 year old quilts from the stories I had heard. You are amazing and thank you for all you do. Warmly and Sincerely and oh so Joyfully…………… Linda

  2. If you haven’t already, please be sure to show Bob a picture of this so he will know what became of the animals he was sweet enough to save.

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Full Moon Fiber Art