___ ___ ___
A spider sewed at night
Without a light
Upon an arc of white.
If ruff it was of dame
Or shroud of gnome
Himself himself inform.
What does a SPIDER WEB (upper left) have to do with a MYSTIC MAZE (upper right) — the two primary names for this same quilt design? An interesting online Dream Dictionary by Kari Hohne notes that spider webs can "represent how various influences are tied together." What if we were to look at the spider web itself as a maze of sorts, a series of pathways, constructed on complex, crisscrossing lines. Certainly the Internet, which we also refer to as the World Wide Web, is a maze par excellence. |
But if a spider web can be understood as a maze, then how does that tie in with mysticism? What does MYSTIC MAZE mean anyway? A possible answer might be provided by a famous poem (see left) by Emily Dickinson, where the spider is a seamstress or tailor who sews at "night" (that is, in a marvelously mysterious or mystical manner).
MYSTIC MAZE dates back to Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune, where is its also called AMAZING WINDMILL (notice the "maze" in that title too). The illustration upper left follows Jinny Beyer's light-dark arrangement. Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA (#2726) includes no less than seven different names from various sources for the pattern !!
Compare with MYSTIC STAR, which includes an Introduction to Quilt Geometry. Compare also with:
ENTERTAINING MOTIONS (with Dickinson)