Soon after I began making quilts in the early 90’s one of my teachers introduced me to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-step program for recovering one’s inner creativity. It was a very important book to me at that time. It helped me find my courage, vision and voice as an artist. From these beginnings my creative practice became my path to spiritual and personal growth.
The I Ching Modern quilt-along isn’t only about making a quilt. Just as the Mod Mood quilt-along asks participants to explore their emotions in relationship to color, the I Ching Modern quilt-along will ask you to identify and reflect on significant questions related to your inner creativity.
Decide on a translation and commentary of the I Ching that resonates clearly with you. If you are already familiar with the I Ching recommend your favorite version of it in the comments. Below are my recommendations.
I STRONGLY recommend this version of the I Ching by Hilary Barrett. You can buy it from the link provided through Amazon or from your favorite bookstore. I will be referring to Barrett’s translation and commentary during the quilt-along.
Barret provides hexagrams with lucid translations of the ancient text along with insightful, and gender inclusive commentary. Her intro on how to use the oracle is simple and straight forward. She presents the I Ching not as a device for predicting the future but as:
… a voice in a conversation, that you can talk with as you would a wise friend and mentor.
Wilhelm’s translation was my first introduction to the I Ching. It is considered by many to the premier translation of the text. First published in 1950 it includes a must-read foreword to the Wilhelm’s I Ching by Carl Gustav Jung. Jung’s foreword provides a thoughtful explanation of how we connect to the oracle through synchronicity. I’ll be talking more about this later, and recommend that you read Jung’s foreward even if you don’t choose Wilhelm’s translation to work with.
Wilhelm’s translation has a helpful commentary but overall his language and images are too patriarchal for my taste. Some of his mid 2oth century attitudes may seem outdated to us now, but the core content is still well-organized, comprehensive, and easy to read.
You can buy this on Amazon, but I found my copy at a used book store. Look for its distinctive yellow-clothed, hard-bound cover in the religion section. If you don’t want to purchase a book for this quilt-along you can access Wilhelm’s hexagram interpretations online. You can also read Wilhelm’s introduction to the I Ching here.
Other I Ching translations
Besides the two mentioned above there are NUMEROUS translations to choose from. Visit Amazon to cruise the descriptions and reviews. Notably interesting are these two below, written for writers. How about an I Ching for improvising quilt makers?!
The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life by Jessica Page Morrell, 2007. The Writer’s I Ching uses the ancient Chinese divination system to provide writers with help mastering the business of writing and choosing the most propitious times to take action. Because writing educators created the book, it also teaches the storyteller and non-fiction craft with lessons suitable for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
The I Ching for Writers: Finding the Page Inside You by Sarah Jane Sloane, 2005. Each of the I Ching’s 64 hexagrams offers commentary and direction for what the future will hold for the writer. In addition to this oracular system of advice, the book outlines the five stages of the writing process – brainstorming, planning, generating a first draft, revising the draft, and polishing – and provides a clear introduction to the philosophy of the I Ching.
Last week we were RESEARCHING.
Your task this week is to decide which version of the I Ching you will be using as your text for the quilt-along. Go ahead and pick up a copy or bookmark a version you can access online.
Next week we will be GATHERING the additional materials needed for your I Ching Modern Quilt!
I’ll be posting new segments of the quilt-along on Mondays. Subscribe to the RSS feed here: I Ching Modern Quilt-along.