Wednesday 1 August 2018

The Endeavourers No 3, Spiral,

Today is the reveal of quilts made for the third quarterly challenge of The Endeavourers quilt group.  You can find all our quilts displayed on The Endeavourers blog, and there are links to each individual member.

Our challenge for this quarter was 'Spiral'.

The path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching it.  A three-dimensional curve (such as a helix) with one or more turns about an axis.

When Mr Random Number Generator picked this theme from our hat I was momentarily stumped but I got completely fascinated by it.

There seems to be something which is universally satisfying about the shape of spirals and they have featured for thousands of years in art and decoration from the neolithic period onwards; for example  there are spirals in neolithic rock art in Scotland.  In some cultures the spiral represents the sun, and by association the passage of time.  It has been used to decorate early tombs and so is associated with the cycle of life and death, and it is found on stone carvings of the mother goddess as a symbol representing the cycles of fertility, creation and birth and cosmic forces.

Spirals feature in nature - from DNA to spiral galaxies, in the arrangement of leaves on a plant, and in the growth of cones, horns and shells,   Mathematicians are interested in the properties of spirals, and engineers and architects make use of them.

As usual my thoughts went off in a number of directions and gradually came back together in a plan towards the end of the quarter when I was on holiday in Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast.  

My quilt is all about spirals in nature, as represented in a view of Robin Hood's Bay.  The quilt shows a view of the cliffs on that coast, as glimpsed through some of the local plants.  A convolvulus or bindweed climbs up a stem, in a spiral helix, and its buds furl and unfurl in spiral form.  There are two snails with their spiral shells, and and an ammonite from the cliffs - a long extinct fossil sea creature also with a spiral shell.    Robin Hood's Bay is an area with a dynamic geological history, so it also really encapsulated for me the forces of creation and the passage of time which have come to be symbolised by the spiral.

Just after I'd made a plan I read that the spiral is a symbol of the pantheist movement, which celebrates the power, beauty and mystery of nature and the Universe.  This made me happy!

I wanted to take a painterly approach to the quilt so as well as applique, hand and machine embroidery, I used watercolour paints to add a wash to the silk used to make the sea, to add details to the shells and ammonite and to add colour to some of the quilted pebbles.  Binding is faced, with the bottom edge being cut in a curve.


  1. I lovely all of the embroidery on this quilt Catherine, another challenge well met!

  2. I love it. Initially I had been thinking of doing fern head spirals too, but I got sidetracked from that. And I love the way you included so many different spirals from nature, this is so peaceful and meditative to look at!

  3. I love the details and thanks a million for he close up photos. Lovely interpretation of the theme!

  4. Such a beautiful, still, piece that captures perfectly the concept of spiral, as well as some literal depictions of serial. I love the quiet quality to this, which imparts that feeling of being centered and enjoying the gifts of nature. Congratulations on such a fine finish!
    Elizabeth, of

  5. This is even more beautiful in the close up photos. I'm sorry not to see it in really life. It has a very natural organic feel to it that seems very harmonious with the landscape and life you've illustrated :)

  6. You’ve chosen an overcast day to highlight the delicate vine, flowers and spirals. I can almost smell the salt water and feel a slight breeze. Hunting for the spirals makes me concentrate on the details. It is a charming scene, very enjoyable.

  7. I love Robin Hood's Bay. I like how you have included different versions of the spiral, even the bindweed, which I fight a constant battle with. I love the delicacy of the piece and the organic shapes contrasting with the solidity of your headland behind them.

  8. Hi Catherine! This is a test comment. Have spent all night trying to figure out why I suddenly cannot post comments to any blog pals. This is actually the Fifth Test Comment I am trying tonight. Maybe five is the charm?
    :) m & jb


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