© Rose Rushbrooke 2003
Pattern: Original fractal design.
Technique: Hand stitched.
Medium: Hand dyed and commercially printed cotton.
Lydia in Acts
Acts 16:13-15 (NKJV):
13. On the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.
14. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
15. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us.
– – – o o O o o – – –
Not much is written about Lydia so the following is assumption. She was probably wealthy as she sold purple dye and cloth. Purple cloth was valuable and expensive and was usually worn as a sign of nobility or royalty. She was born in Thyatira in the ancient kingdom of Lydia. I connected with her on a very basic level – she was a businesswoman trading in dyed fabrics.
The making of the piece
The objective was to create a fractal art quilt portraying one of the women of the bible for an invitational traveling exhibition. My choice was Lydia so I wanted to show the purple cloth she worked with and to abstract a feeling of power and femininity. This is one of the most complicated pieces I have made in my fractal series and it is the first Julia set digital image I have worked with.
Purple is not a favorite colour of mine so it was quite an experience to work with so much – fortunately, red was a colour often dyed in those times so I was able to relieve the heaviness with sections of bright red which I love. I was further able to lighten the piece with embroidery and quilting using highly contrasting threads. Interestingly the threads appear almost white but look closely and you will see that they are a mix of complementary yellows, oranges and some lovely silky variegated cotton threads I found in England.
French knots embroidered in hand dyed silk ribbon are scattered along the bottom of the quilt. Each of these tiny curved strips is hand stitched together and hand quilted down.
Rayon embroidery floss is knotted as a fringe. Running stitch shades the row of strips. Heavy hand quilting emphasises the curved pieces.
Looped stitch using silk chenille thread fringes the edge. Why I thought I could stitch through the muslin with thick strands of chenille I will never know. But I do know I will never do it again. Couching for me in the future! I always sign my quilts on the front in permanent black ink.
Quilting lines follow the curves of the strips. The whole quilt is heavily hand quilted.