It was stunning to hear her deep expertise and see her examples of decorative patterns repeating almost exactly in different parts of the world and reoccurring from the earliest time documented to current days.
Ms. Kelly showed us samples of textiles made and used in Russia, Scandinavia, Asia, Europe, and North America that illustrated common folk culture belief systems in protective goddesses who shield women and their children in life and in death.
|Trees take many forms but are found in textile designs of folk cultures from Russia, Scandinavia, through Asia, Europe and North America.|
|Another variation of The Tree of Life|
In some cultures, girls are initiated into womanhood in ceremonies that include robing, or "wounding". In other cultures, girls of a certain age receive and are allowed to wear flounced skirts, believed to make them strong and brave.
Weddings are perhaps where the symbolism of cloth expressing hopes and dreams for the future are most evident to us. Tall headdresses traditionally worn by many goddess deities have been adapted for the familiar bridal veil. In some cultures, including ours, the lifting of the veil is a very dramatic moment in the wedding ceremony. The Zuni (or Hopi indians of America's southwestern deserts) tradition is for the groom to make a wedding cloth for his bride. In the Ukraine, ritual cloth is used to bind the bride and groom's hands together during the wedding ceremony.
|This beaded cap is typical of wedding garb in many folk traditions. It has a "horn", protective red is the dominant color, and zig-zag patterns occur in multiple variations. Surely the coins represent wishes for prosperity for the new couple.|
|Kayleigh could not resist.|
|Red borders and zig-zag variations|
|Mary Kelly has traveled the world exploring textile traditions and folk lore. In the academic and artistic world, she is recognized for her authority on the goddess motif in textiles and all the rituals associated with it.|
Many thanks go to one of our newest members, Andrea Cochran-Pastel for sharing her notes and photos with me (Sandy) as I prepared this post. Andrea is an accomplished photographer and artist, including creative use of fiber. See more her work at http://andelieya.wordpress.com .)