Quilt of the Month


January 2011

January 2011

From the Scriptorium: Inspired by the Book of Kells - Mark the Lion
Made by Mary Catherine Lamb (1949-2009)
Made in Portland, Oregon
Dated 2000
IQSC 2010.009.0003

January's Quilt-of-the-Month, From the Scriptorium: Inspired by the Book of Kells - Mark the Lion, by artist Mary Catherine Lamb, is one of a set of four pieces that were inspired by images from the illustrated Celtic manuscript, the Book of Kells. The manuscript, created circa 800 AD, features the four books of the Gospel with nearly every page illustrated. The imagery is intricate, with interwoven complex design elements and figures that intrigued Lamb: "I became enamored of medieval depictions of these stories. Their drama as well as their reliance on a visual vocabulary of mysterious symbols appealed to me, and the flat, graphic quality of illuminated manuscripts . . . made them well suited for reinterpretation with two-dimensional textile work."

Lamb also commented on her use of vintage textiles: "I look upon my palette of cast-off mid-century curtains, tablecloths and garments--so evocative of the period when certain religious images conveyed to me an unquestioned order of the universe--with fond amusement not unlike my feelings for the holy cards themselves. Contemporary silks, satins, brocades and metallics lend an air of regal elegance like that of gilded medieval renditions of sacred subjects, and I enjoy the contrast of these sumptuous fabrics with their homely, domestic counterparts. The use of materials previously worn or otherwise lived with lends a whisper of anonymous experience, a shimmer of life, to the whole. I hope that the 'vintage' aspect of the work also enhances its humor and accessibility."