This quilt was inspired by time spent in Antonio Gaudi’s magnificent creation of La Sagrada Familia, a basilica in Barcelona, Spain. We visited there in March of 2016, on Good Friday of their Santa Semana (Holy Week). It was a fitting capstone to our visit to Spain, and to other of Gaudi’s architectural buildings, and from the moment we walked in, we were overwhelmed. Gaudi based a lot of his structures on natural elements, curves inherent in draped forms, local mountains, rock and nature. So I took my cue from the same, as well as trying to weave in a representation of my experience there with color, music and the Spirit.In most of the Catholic churches we visited on our trip, the center crucifix of Christ was based on what we perceived as physical pain: the suffering that Jesus as a mortal man endured on the cross for all those many hours of the crucifixion, his head bowed, the expression on his face, agony. Yet in Gaudi’s church, Christ was under a canopy that appeared almost like upside-down blossom of a trumpet flower, surrounded by a vine laden with clusters of grapes, the expression on his face transcendent, his eyes focused upward.And high above him, nearly 200 feet in the air, is a golden arrow or tree that points to a further high point, a representation of his ascension to heaven. The symbolism is rich and layered for those who are familiar with the story of Good Friday. I sat down in the chairs in the nave to think and to let myself fall into what I was seeing, and surprisingly, hearing. As I sat there I became aware of music, just below the level of hum of the crowd. It was hard to decide what the score was, whether it was some oratorio like the Messiah, or a choral rendition, such as Ave Maria (which was later played at noon). The beauty of the stained glass, the unique and thoughtful Christ in the unusual baldacchin, the representation of the Resurrection by this golden motif pointing upward and the music were a fitting celebration of the events of Good Friday.
On a more practical level, during our entire trip I had been puzzling what I would make for our May Four-in-Art art quilt, with its dual themes of color and music; I knew that day that I wanted to attempt to recreate some portion of what I had experienced, however puny my attempt might be.
This is my third try at this structure. I had started out with the swirly pink, yellow and blue batik, but first used a yellow solid. Then when we went to visit my son in San Diego, I found a fabric store that sold silk shantung, and a bit of the glistening crisp fabric came home with me.
I worked those diamonds multiple ways, but finally had to settle for a tepid reference to the intricacies of Gaudi’s design. I’m not too happy with the blue pieces, wishing I had instead something more grayed to bridge the swirling pastel batik to the outer gray, but again, I was aiming for a representation of the experience.
Because of the lattice shape, the dimensions of this quilt are quite different than the usual 12 inch square quilts I’ve been making in this series.
I backed it with more of the batik, quilted it up on my new quilting machine, and bound it in more batik, wishing to let the edges flow, not constrain, the design.
I was surprised when I laid it out on my flagstone for a photograph in the sun, how the sheen of the silk echoed the glinting bits in the rock underneath it. The label reads: “The intense spiritual experience of Good Friday in Barcelona, as I sat in the nave, with color, sound and Spirit blending around me, prompted this quilt: an attempt to recreate one of Gaudi’s motifs.”
Perhaps to someone who wasn’t there, it may seem puny or very far from that design motif high above the nave. I agree.
But it will do.
Please visit the other quilters in the Four-in-Art group, so named because we work towards quarterly challenges (next challenge will be August 2016):
Simone (sitting out this round–her daughter’s getting married)
Please also visit our blog: Four-in-Art Quilts.