The design for this quilt adapts two concepts I have visited numerous times over the past thirty years. I didn't invent the subjects, but rather I explored them. I have often played them against one another with different media to better understand them. Chronologically, the first is from my "The Unfolded Cube" opus; the other is from "Ouroboros." Their combination extends my interest in "tilting" the geometric analysis of arrangements inherent in mosaics and weavings.
"The Unfolded Cube":
It seems there are eleven shapes that fold into a cube (excluding mirror images). All of them fit within a three-by-four ratio, except for one I call the Superior shape. It fits within a two-by-five ratio and its two segments can be bracketed by the Dominant shape. The Dominant shape is unique to the other nine, three-by-four ration shapes. it is a continuous line, starting at one side of a cube and spiralling around its equator to the opposite side. Two other shapes, the Regular and Irregular Cardinal shapes, are continuous and connected. Smaller versions of them have been placed within the two larger shapes.
Ouroboros is the second century Gnostic dragon forever biting its tail. Sometimes, as (perhaps) in this case, it appears as a rooster with a snake's tail- symbolizing an invisible spirit supposedly permeating everything. At one end, it is self-sufficient, and at the other, it is in dissolute. From self-recognition to self-adornment, then self-deception to self-destruction. Both ends unite.
The Gnostics were Christian heretics opposed to materialism of the Catholic church. They believed Jesus was more of an era than a body. Considering it rather contradictory for them to depict the Ouroboros as an entity, I portrayed it by depicting its parts seeking to unite. By not appropriating their commonly seen symbol, but rather by abstracting it in a modern way, I have tried to improve the communication of their idea. I made one drawing more fetal than the other, suggesting it exists before birth or conception, in dreams or aspirations. The other is more evolved, materialized or real. The two mingle with one another, in rhythm trying to unite. I overlaid them to form four intertwined repeat patterns, or "guilloches," used to quilt the Unfolded Cube pattern. Removing the border, a complete tile is revealed that can be connected top and bottom or side to side suggesting a potentially infinite field.
The Ouroborhythm of the Unfolded Cube suggests the random disturbance of some ideal which evokes life. The yearning of the two Ouroboros drawings to merge implies our dreams are aspiring to materialize just as we are aspiring to accomplish our dreams. Dwelling on this concept has opened an awareness in me to a time/space of mutual influence between the past, present and future. I suspect what we do in the present influences our past; and we act in response to the subconscious knowledge of our fate.
Andrew James Smith, May 16, 2003
This work was pieced by Barbara Cooper- Jones and quilted by Kitt Fisher-Reid.