New Wall Hanging Started-The Way It Is

March 6, 2009 at 1:42 am Leave a comment

the-way-it-is-comp One of the major reasons I started quilting 3 years ago was to be able to make worship banners and wall hangings for my church.  I began taking classes at,   particularly classes that could teach me about art quilt techniques.   Besides taking online quilt classes,  I also like to see what other churches are doing as sanctuary art.

On the Reformed Worship website, I found a striking woodcut by Robert Hodgell, entitled “The Way It Is.”  When their banner committee considered how best to represent the idea of intercessory prayer, they had the choice of designing a banner that showed how they would like it to be, or what it is really like. They chose the latter. The original woodcut  was simplified and recreated as a worship banner to be used at a day of prayer service.  You can see  the complete image of their banner at 

Because the woodcut had so many fine lines, it was impractical for them to use traditional applique.  They finally settled on the technique of  glueing black thistle seed to fabric, and were well pleased with the rough texture and stark contrast between the black and white.  It must have taken thousands of seeds, painstakingly glued to the surface of the banner. Unfortunately, the creation did not stand the test of time.  After several years of storage, the banner was found to be in tatters, having staved off hunger for starving church mice!

Back to what has been happening in my town. Early in January, members and pastors of several churches  agreed to come together for weekly prayer for our community.  I felt that this was the time to make this striking image into a banner/quilted wallhanging for the group. I contacted the author of the article, Dean Heetdircks, about permission to use the image. He graciously agreed that our use of the image to create a wall hanging for our community prayer group was appropriate.  The original artist is no longer living, but before he died, gave permission to Dean to allow its use in any appropriate worship setting.   I will include proper credit on the label when I complete the quilt.

The photo above is a detail from the larger wall hanging I began a month ago.  Unlike the Reformed Worship version, this one is not covered with seed! I am using a technique I learned from Susan Brittingham, an instructor for She teaches “upside-down applique”, which allows me to get the fine detail required by the woodcut image. I chose a black upolstery fabric with rubbererized backing because I could cut the fine detail in the work and not have to worry too much about fraying.  The background is white cotton duck cloth.  The figure itself is approximately life size, showing the chest, head and upraised hand of a man engaged in intense prayer.

Now the applique work has been completed, and tonight I completed packaging the 3′ x 5′ quilt top with batting and backing.  I have been thinking, praying about how to do the quilting to bring more into the piece than just a flat banner. I have enough of an idea of what to do, so that I can begin tomorrow with free-motion quilting right around the figure to form a kind of aura that stretches heavenward.  I also want to show somehow, that prayer forms a kind of conduit through the confusion and spiritual interference that characterize our lives.  I’m not sure how I will achieve that, exactly.  Still waiting.


Entry filed under: Quilting, Sanctuary Art, Uncategorized, Wall Hangings. Tags: , , .

Given the Go-Ahead, Created the Site! Quilting Plan for “The Way It Is”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: