While no one really knows how the prophet Abraham came to know God, many a rabbi has told a tale, a midrash, about this event. One famous one is how Abraham came upon a castle alight — a castle doleket. According to many, the term doleket has two meanings: one is that the castle was radiating “brilliant light.” But others maintain it was burning, being destroyed by flame. Who is the master of this castle, asked Abraham, that they would build it only to allow it to burn? And so, the midrash goes, he came to know God.
I wanted to convey this idea in my quilt — while something can be in flames, it can also be full of light.
So I made the one-inch timbers of this creation stand strong and straight, then allowed some to fall at an angle, denoting fallen beams. I kept the fabric intact, but left the edges ragged, and threads raveling. The body holds together, but is mounted on a fabric with text, as the written word is both permanent and ephemeral.
The implications for this idea of doleket are numerous and obvious. We struggle through a searing experience, only to discover new strengths. We recognize that often we make fumbling and brutal mistakes with this life we’ve been given, yet continue to work to make things right. This quilt is less literal than my other two, but I could think about this idea for a long time, and in many of its permutations. I’m glad I had the chance to think about flame, about fire, and to try to put it into art quilt terms.
I have other companions in this quarterly art quilt foray. They also have created quilts with the fire theme:
Leanne, of She Can Quilt
Rachel, of The Life of Riley
Betty, from Flickr
Check back for the next post, describing some of my creative decisions, a veritable deconstruction of Doleket.
This is quilt #113 on my 200 Quilts list.