As referenced on the pages elsewhere on this website, making mandala quilts began spontaneously and evolved in a very organic fashion over for several years for me. I had quite a collection stashed away in closets before I understood them as mandalas.
My ‘techniques’ (and lack of such) were birthed with a playful heart, purely for selfish reasons – the satisfaction and happiness I felt while making these odd little critters! Initially, I never had any reason to show them to anyone. They were playful experiments and I was having fun.
As my skills and confidence grew over time, I found many benefits of working with the mandala form. I consider such creations a type of technology – a technology of beauty, you might say! Using self-designated rituals during construction only deepened my experience of the creative process, and produced results that pleased others, as well.
When someone commissions me to create a quilt for them, I nearly always experience a bit of anxiety, and with mandalas, even more so. When I tune-in for inspiration to seek the vision of the piece, it can take days, and sometimes weeks for me to receive a clear image. Then the process to translate what I receive through the fabrics and other elements-at-hand begins. Over the years, with practice, I can usually get into production in a timely fashion, but to PROMISE to complete a mandala quilt in a specific time-frame could be risky.
Commissioned by a crew member aboard the Terra Navis to create this Sri Yantra during a lunar cycle, I was a little nervous about maintaining my focus to conceive and complete this piece within the shorter time-frame.
The Sri Chakra or Shri Yantra is a yantra formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point, the junction point between the physical universe and its unmanifest source. It represents the goddess in her form of Shri Lalitha Or Tripura Sundari, "the beauty of the three worlds". Four of the triangles point upwards, representing Shiva or the Masculine. Five of these triangles point downwards, representing Shakti or the Feminine. Thus the Sri Yantra also represents the union of Masculine and Feminine Divine. Because it is composed of nine triangles, it is known as the Navayoni Chakra.
Together the nine triangles are interlaced in such a way as to form 43 smaller triangles in a web symbolic of the entire cosmos or a womb symbolic of creation. Together they express Advaita or non-duality. This is surrounded by a lotus of eight petals, a lotus of sixteen petals, and an earth square resembling a temple with four doors.
When I began this piece, my Planetary Tantra practice had already proven effective for tuning into the telluric energies of Gaia Sophia, the Living Planet. I would need to stay focused and on-schedule to complete this project on time, while still working for wages at my job. Balance was the key! No distractions would be permitted.
The pattern completed and prepared to the appropriate size, (the finished quilt would be approximately 36 inches square), and my next step would be to choose the fabrics I would use. Tuning in to the dakini frequencies and pulling fabric from my stash was a delightful dance of abundance, rich in jewel tones and rich, hunter greens. I had just enough yardage left of a precious starry-background print to add the deep contrast I desired for some fiery explosions of color in the outer lotus-blossom ring.
The patterns I create as a guide for my mandala quilts are somewhat precise, but the techniques I use to paint the mandala with individual elements of different fabrics are somewhat relaxed, with plenty of room to make corrections as needed. I like to listen to some music as I work, and will often dance a jig or two when caught up in the inspiration of the co-creative process. The energies running through my arms and hands are sometimes nearly more than I can bear! So sweet is the flow of the dakini nature as it passes through me to the stitches and thread that I employ.
The project was well on its way to completion when I received the direct instruction on two details regarding this mandala. As a gesture of protection and sealing-of-boundaries, I saw detailed seed-beading around the perimeter. This would reuire quite a bit of time for the hand-beading process, but I felt confident that my focus would be maintained to allow for this additional detail. I figured … it was an inspired thought … with a purpose. The tiny seed-beads would hold a ‘seed’, indeed! Of this I was certain. My aim was clear. I strung the beads nine at a time, on purpose.
In addition, the final vision I received just before binding the quilt called for red heart-shaped beads at each outside lotus-petal point … a heart for each dakini. These heart-shaped beads would signify the potential for Heart Drop Initiation by the Dakini Cluster entire.
This quilt was officially bound in the completion cycle of the new moon, following the Kamala/Kula Devi shift in November, 2011. This quilt is part of a private collection.
For more information on commissioned quilts by Terri, submit the form below with a brief description of your desires for a handmade original of your own.
Trades Of Hope