A Novel Panel Idea

Our library has a community wide book club book once a year called A Novel Idea. In the fall, our library unveils the selected novel and everyone in the community is encouraged to read the book. In spring the book’s author is invite to town to speak for the ultimate book club meeting. As part of the Novel Idea celebration in the spring the library has an art show to feature art inspired by the community read novel.

I read the book, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki as soon as it was announced as the selected book and loved it. I was determined to enter the art show and create a piece of fiber art inspired by this wonderful novel.

But where to start…

I have a collection of pre-printed fabric panels that I have collected over the years. Some panels in the collection, that I bought long ago, I look at and go “what was I thinking?” Others I look at and think: “what am I going to do with that?” Some quilters look down on using panels and think they are cheating because you are not piecing the entire piece.

Remembered in my collection of panels I had a lovely kimono panel printed with images of the sea and sky – that seemed like the right place to start as part of the novel took place in Japan. I mirrored the palette of the panel to create a flowing extension of the panel’s scene.

Here are photos” from my design wall to completed piece just hung in the downtown branch of our library for the upcoming show

On the back of the finished piece I put a label about my inspiration:

Jiko’s Secret Robe (2015)

Quilt inspired by Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being: Nao’s great grandmother, Jiko, is a humble and wise 100+ year-old Buddhist nun who wears simple robes and lives a simple life. This quilt represents Jiko’s secret robe – a robe not visible to the eye but visible to the soul – representing the complexity and depths of Jiko’s spirit, experience, wisdom and compassion for all beings and the earth.

“For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky.”– Ruth Ozeki

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