Collaborative Studio 5, #4
 Thursday, November 17, 2011

Earth, Yellow, Square/Cube , Islam

I assigned Islam to Earth because they are required to go through a series of prayer moves that include kneeling prostate, several times a day, facing East, and typically using a prayer rug to help maintain purity.  I chose to hand make a quilted and embroidered prayer rug, from materials that would never stand up to such vigorous use.  A rectangle is composed of two squares and I read that Kabbalistic practice also holds the square in high regard.  A keyhole is always placed at the top of a prayer rug, to help distinguish the direction, and should always face East.  To increase the feminine feel, I added a Hand of Fatima, a sign of warding off evil.  The quilting technique is called 'crazy quilting' and was very popular in the early 1900s.  To increase the feel of that time, I added art noveau-esque floral touches.  I hand sewed and embroidered the entire piece.  It took a little over 43 hours of work to complete.

I started with a sketch.

Then I selected my fabrics.

This was one of the scariest parts for me-- cutting up $100 worth of material.

Then I started laying out my pieces like a large fabric puzzle.

Finally!  Then I hand stitched my background down.

Then I created templates to cut my other pieces from.

Making sure I like my fabric choices. Then, it was all about doing the embroidery.

I love the way the lotus turned out.

As well as the Hand of Fatima.

As well as my other decorative elements.

Then I began embroidering the signs for the number 5 and the element earth.  I did it in two layers.  In the first, I placed the main stitches down.

Then I added the fringe and went over the first layer of signs with a gold thread to make them look like solid lines.

The finished piece.

Detail of the center.

"A Feminine Touch" prayer rug on display in the gallery.

Another view of "A Feminine Touch" prayer rug.