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Prayer Scarves
Prayer Scarves

Let the beauty we love be what we do--there are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.    --Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th C.

This series of silk prayer scarves began with a length of cloth I designed incorporating symbols from the ancient Chinese oracle, the I Ching, one of my spiritual disciplines.

More exciting ideas flowed from that one, and a dialogue was developing in a way I can describe only as the Spirit of the Cloth communicating with the Spirit in me.

My work on these scarves has become a kind of prayer and has led to an eclectic search and ever-deepening faith journey.

Among the images and texts I have silkscreened onto these fabrics, which I have first dyed, are the following: the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching, the sayings of Confucius, Germanic Runes, Aztec designs, Celtic knotwork, the Aramaic Lord's Prayer, the Hebrew of the Book of Ruth, the name of Allah, the Ave Maria, the Chartres Labyrinth, the Vesica Piscis from the Chalice Well, T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets," the Bhagavad-Gita, the Koran and the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Martha K. Grant with Prayer ScarfFamiliar universal symbols are the rose and the cross, and the dragon which is a symbol of St. Martha. Recent additions are ancient symbols from early Goddess cultures and feminine-based spiritualities.

I have tried to respect the integrity and intent of the symbol systems and scriptures I am designing with. I don't believe in indiscriminate use of them merely for the sake of design but wish to reflect and respect their original intent.

The scarves are 14" x 58" silk charmeuse. Their sacred significance affords them varied lives according to the taste of their owners. Many are worn, of course, some specifically for prayer. Some find their way onto personal altars, others are wall-hung, individually or in groups. They are often special-occasion gifts, the text and symbols specifically chosen for the recipient. It is my hope that the visual harmony and beauty created from this blend of seemingly disparate spiritual persuasions adds in some small measure to universal interfaith dialog and mutual understanding.

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Prayer Scarves
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