Sunday, 12 June 2011

The story of the Mandala Quilt - Part 1

Mandala Quilt in progress: Central piece
I am pretty sure I had never heard of Mandalas until I watched The Last Mimzy a couple of years ago. I immediately thought how perfect for quilting - geometric designs, simple colours and plenty of opportunity for embellishments, embroidery, beads, applique...the sky's the limit.

It took a lot of happy googling to decide on a design. I finally decided on a  Medicine Buddha Mandala. There are some incredible designs out there but some of them are a little too complicated for quilting. This blog here is a fantastic source for Tibetan and Nepalese are images.

So at this point I started collecting fabrics, which was a lot of fun and one of my favourite things to do. With the Amithaba Buddhist Centre picture (left) as a starting point, I tried to find fat quarters depicting special symbols like Dharma wheels, deer, Precious Parasols and Dramyen (tibetan guitars). I wasn't sure what some of the symbols were, like Vajras (I know how to draw these now but keep forgetting what they are). Although there are some lovely oriental fabrics available (such as in Fabric Inspirations), this bit  was tricky and I had to compromise. For example, it is convenient that the Dharma Wheel looks so much like a ship's wheel as there are quite a few nautical fabrics out there, but not many buddhist ones:
I had very little luck sourcing fabrics depicting 'precious parasols' , I think I went cross-eyed trawling my favourite fabric shops. I ended up with several metres of blue umbrella fabric, which was serendipitous because although completely wrong for the quilt, it made a good peg bag:

That is enough for today. Keep posted for the next thrilling installment of the story of the Mandala Quilt.

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