|Red Prayer Wheel Quilt (2005)|
114 x 148 cm
An old Tibetan monk tells me the soul has no memory; the dead do not feel their past. This is left to the living.
(Colin Thurbon, 'To a Mountain in Tibet', 10)
It was on our first day in Kathmandu that we visited Boudhanath and walked around the base of the Stupa in a clockwise direction spinning the prayer wheels as we went.
It was at the stupa I first met Tibetan women, they were wearing a certain type of apron, the bangdien or paang-den, formed from three vertical bands of repeating horizontal stripes.
After walking in the Annapurna region, we spent some days in Pokara. I had wandered up a side street drawn by sound of a deep dark voice:
I do not know/and I could not see/who was waiting there/who was hunting me//by the rivers dark/where all goes on/by the rivers dark/in Babylon
(Leonard Cohen, By the Rivers Dark)
And it was here I came across a tailor's shop. The owner invited me to meet his wife and family--they had a single room, most of it taken up by a double bed, which during the day became a place to sit or play on, their three young sons demonstrated how it could be used as a trampoline and invited me to join them.Foreigners were scarce, fear of the Moaist bombs were keeping them away, and the couple were eager to exchange stories.
|Red Prayer Wheel Quilt|
It was during the process of making that his elder brother added further layers of meaning:
"Cut and re-piece the design", he suggested, "and you will have a prayer wheel"
- it was as if the two horizontal panels were stitched together to form a cylinder and then re-cut to form the quilt, leaving a band of one of the panels still attached to the third.
Details of the Red Prayer Wheel Quilt:"Think of it as constantly revolving", he continued, "our thoughts still with him even when we are not together".
Materials:cotton, silk (various sources including Nepal), cotton threads. Polartec wadding (not recommended, it drags on the needle when hand stitching). Cotton backing (pieced).
Techniques: machine piecing, hand stitching.
|A Tibetan Apron, Bangdien|
Left to right (vertical panels 1 -5)
Based on Bangdien design A, B, C
1. Same as Panel 5
2. Fragment Panel 4 reversed (C)
3. Central Panel (B)
4. Panel 2 reversed (C)
5. Fragment of Panel 1 (A)
Leonard Cohen: By the Rivers Dark in Book of Longing, Penguin Books, 2006, 53