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Bridges not walls
wall image for a graduate
women rise and shine
Quilt for Ukiraine
BRidges not walls
Circles of Hope
Gift for Ukraine
Log Cabin Fever-1 Barn Raising
Noah's Ark
Donna Brunell OP

The traditional style mini quilt that I did as part of a quilt challenge. I was awarded a first place ribbon in the traditional category for this in a vote by guild members.
I create many different types of quilts, but my favorites are the smaller ones that capture the beauty of nature and are suited for displaying on a wall. Usually I start with one of my own photos, which I enlarge, trace, and adapt for use with fabric. I use a variety of methods of constructing the quilts.

If I plan to piece the elements together, I first make patterns, use them to cut out the fabric, pin them to a display board, then sew the pieces in sections.If I use an appliqué method, I draw or trace the shapes on fusible backing material, cut them out, and iron them to the background fabric.Another method I've enjoyed is simply cutting pieces of fabric and randomly building a scene as I go along.

For all methods, once the scene is "built," I layer it on batting and a backing fabric, then quilt the piece either by hand or by machine; sometimes I do both. Lastly, I attach the binding and add a sleeve on the back for hanging. Or, I wrap the piece around a canvas.

The entire process of creating a quilt is a contemplative process for me. The repetitive stitching along with the hum of the sewing machine serve as mantras that help me to be centered. I find the process of quilting relaxing, healing, prayerful, and therapeutic.I also enjoy making comfort quilts with a group of my friends. We get together once a month for a day-long session and make quilts from leftover and donated fabrics for those in need.

Air - associated with the season of SPRING and the direction of EAST
Air - the breath of life, movement, inspiration, innocence, wonder, curiosity
Air - where creator spirits live
Air - cleansing power
Air - nurturing new life and new ways of being 
Air - entertaining dreams and generating ideas
Air - symbol of communication, perception, knowledge, imagination, harmony, playfulness
Air - source of destruction: hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, blizzards


Water - associated with the season of AUTUMN and the direction of WEST

Water - healing, purification, regeneration, fertility, devotion
Water - a return to the womb of creation
Water - discernment, adaptation, transformation
Water - associated with a variety of emotions, represented by rushing streams, calm and tranquil lagoons, pelting rain, the crisp iciness of frost
Water - symbolizes death as well as rebirth. It is life-giving, but can also be destructive: floods, tsunamis, severe storms, blizzards, landslides, droughts

Fire - associated with the season of SUMMER and the direction of SOUTH
Fire - considered to be the first element when the universe was created
Fire - attributed to transformational and purifying powers
Fire - light in the spiritual realm – sun, or flame in the physical realm
Fire - symbolizes incredible energy, creativity, passion, freedom, power, love, vision, anger, strength, assertiveness, courage, dynamism
Fire - represents a strong spiritual focus in one’s life, the stoking of passions, the coming to fullness
Fire - gives warmth and enables life, and it can also burn and destroy – forest fires, eruptions, firestorms. From fire’s ashes occurs re-generation

Earth - associated with the season of WINTER and the direction of NORTH
Earth - related to physical manifestations, abundance, the cycles of life
Earth - place of healing, wisdom, giving back
Earth - symbolizes prosperity, fertility, stability, orderliness, creativity, nourishment, physical abundance, dependability, security, permanence, wisdom
Earth - fosters a sense of being grounded, connected with nature
Earth - a firm foundation on which to build
Earth - geologic processes cause destruction: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, firestorms, human activity
Four Elements Mandala Wall Quilts
Air – Water – Fire – Earth

The four elements – AIR, WATER, FIRE, EARTH – are depicted in mandala format against a half-white, half-black background to represent light and darkness, life and death, creation and destruction.

A mandala generally symbolizes unity, eternity, wholeness, perfection. It is a cosmic diagram that depicts the integrated organizational structure of life that is now accepted by almost all cultures and religions.

Each element is associated with one of the seasons, which are said to provide balance in our lives. The seasons have healing powers that give us a sense of peace, hope, and joy.

In my research, I found that descriptions of the elements, their representations and associations, vary depending on the culture or practice in which they are being described.


Resources used for this project:

Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Practice of Praying with the Elements: Christine Valters Paintner

"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” ~ John Muir