Australian Quaker Narrative Embroidery Committee

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Walking in the light

 

Walk in the Light wherever you may be

Walk in the Light wherever you may be

In my old leather breeches and my shaggy shaggy locks.

“I am walking in glory of the Light” said Fox

The English Quaker Tapestry panel about Light is a key feature of the entire series and shows a beam of light passing through a prism column embroidered with this quote:

The Religious Society of Friends might be thought of as a prism through which the Divine Light passes to become visible in a spectrum of many colours, many more in their richness than words can express.

The Australian Quaker Narrative Project needed an introductory panel that could provide a starting point for viewers while bringing a typically Australian flavour to the ideas.

As Quakers: 

We believe in the Light: … in silence and meditation, …the Inner Light can illumine our own spirits, enlighten our conscience and reveal to us what God’s will is for us; that this light can illumine every area of life and that therefore there are no such divisions as secular from sacred, Sunday from Monday, human from divine; that we are all bearers of the light… and that that therefore we believe in the worthwhileness of each person in the sight of God and of each other.

William Oats 1990

This quote, paraphrased from this we can say, places the idea of the Light as the key concept from which the Quaker principles of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Environment lead. 

As Australians, we often think of ourselves in relation to the landscape in which we live. (In this we are perhaps more connected to Indigenous ideas than we know.) We think more in generalisations but about where we live and what we connect with. Some people are beach people, some are forest people, some are water people, some are desert, some are rock people. To some beach and water people might be considered the same but to a beach person, water people are very different! We don’t think so much in categories as in identifiers. 

To find an image that would represent all of Australia was a big ask. It needed to represent the coastal existence we have as well as the power of the desert; the east coast and the west. This image, by Sheldon Pettit, of a Pilbara coast seemed ideal with the strong colours of the water and rock cliffs. It also gave the stitcher a chance to explore the use of stitches to express the ruggedness of the landscape. The final layer of stitching will be the rays of light stretching over the landscape reaching all areas of the image. This will be raised possibly in Quaker stitch.

Further reading and meditation led to this quote from this we can say:

I want to walk, if perhaps not always cheerfully over the earth, then at least in the little patches of light still left to me in this life.

Aase Pryor 1996

In the bottom left of the panel there is a fine grid of squares that will be filled in with ‘pixels’ of colour from all over the panel. The small patches of colour remind us that we can affect our small area or larger regions as we are led by the Spirit.

Panel stitched and designed by Beth Harcourt, WARM