3.02.2010

Feeling the Chi



Chi refers to the movable positive or negative energy which plays a vital role in the Chinese art Feng Shui. Feng meaning 'wind' and Shui meaning 'water'. Feng Shui is a technique used to bring balance to one's home, building, object or project. By careful placement of items one can ensure the flow of chi to bring about a balance of energies in a given space. (At least this is my simple understanding.) Many western designers talk about Feng Sui in relation to spaces and rooms they design.


I received a small quilt in the mail that my mother had made. She called this piece Chinese Coins. I loaded it onto my quilting table and stood at it stumped. I often spend time looking over the quilts I am given to quilt to see what designs call to me. It can take some time to settle on a particular design. I have found if I rush into a quilt without taking time to study the quilt top itself, I am not at all pleased with the design I have quilted. Mom indicated she wanted a design with some curve and movement to this already square and linear design. I had to agree. But what?

Shortly after loading the quilt I began to have problems with my sewing machine. Then I destroyed my blender, my Cuisinart and finally broke the seat belt in the truck. I started to think that perhaps I needed to consider that someone, somewhere was trying to tell me something. Slow down, rest, focus your energy elsewhere.


When I really thought about the energy flow and movement in my life, I began to think of the Chinese art of Feng Shui. I don't know much about it so I did some research and decided I needed take this approach to Chinese Coins. I spent several days drawing out the design and practicing what I thought would work for this quilt. Feng Shui incorporates 5 elements (Wood, Water, Earth, Metal and Fire). Because of the size of this quilt I felt trying to incorporate all 5 elements would only clutter the quilt instead of creating flow. I took Water, Earth and Fire, elements and blended them in harmony into the quilt.


Even though the quilt is heavily quilted, I think the design works and it flows nicely.
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