A Medicine Area Art Quilt and Visionary Art

"Medicine Area" art quilt in the Meditation Garden series - full shot - first day of embellishmentNancy Smeltzer, MFA

In the previous posting about the “Image From Beyond“, I wrote about how I had been given the picture from which to make a small art quilt by a fellow healer who has crossed over, Brian Baker. This much larger piece of visionary art also came from his sharings, and will be part of my Meditation Gardens series. However, instead of being a more traditional garden, with plants, as the previous pieces have been, this image is more along the lines of the Medicine Area that I was taught during my shamanic training with Wes Geitz. In recent postings on my healing blog, Transition Portals, especially the postings about my visit in December to Joshua Tree, California, I’ve talked a lot about Wes’s teachings. In the Lakota Sioux and Mohawk traditions in which we were taught, the Medicine Area, the theme for this piece, was a place that we “built” in our consciousnesses where our healing work would take place. Before Brian became one of my Spirit Guides, my own Medicine Area was rather bare. They always seem to be in caves and mine originally consisted of a stone table on which to work with and a fire off to the side. Now, Brian has shown me a much richer, more vibrant area to do my healing work.

Detail of a Meditation Gardens art quilt - "A Medicine Area"In this detail shot, you can some of the buttons and beads that had been included by the end of the first day of adding embellishments to this piece. In this cave “garden”, there are three pools of water that cascade down one side of the cave’s walls. Stone steps also lead down to the bottom of the cave. The portal for entering the cave, as in all of the “Meditation Gardens” series, is in the upper right and uses the same commands to enter it as is described on the page in the immediately given link for the series. The colors in this cave are so much more vibrant in this “new, updated” version, and I can see things more clearly then in past visits to my Medicine Area before Brian showed me this image.

What will be a challenge will be how to handle the great expanse of background fabric and break it up. It’s actually a mottled gold fabric with very fine, black lines that makes the surface look like a small-celled honey comb. Do I go with gold, black, amber or some other color seed beads? I find that I have to see seed beads in person to see how they will work on an art quilt, as bead colors on a computer monitor just aren’t accurate enough for me. I shake a few beads out of the vial and skewer them on to a straight pin to hold against the fabric to see show they will actually appear when sewn down. That way, since color is such an important design element for me, I can get the effects that I want.

As with all my art quilts, the images are important to me, as since I’m not having children, they’re the part of me that I’ll be leaving behind. This image is especially important to me to “get it right”, as it combines two of my passions, art and healing. Keep coming back, as I have photos to write about regarding the next two days’ additions of embellishments. I’m really having a good time with this quilt!

How do you choose the colors in your medium? Do you lay them beside each other, or do you “see” them in you head? What do you do when you can’t get the “right” color for what you need? Art is all about creative problem solving, so we’d love to hear how you get around “there aren’t enough colors in my crayon box”!

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!… and PLEASE tell like minded souls about this blog! The more readers and contributors, the more I write because encouragement helps the words flow!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my healing work at www.transitionportals.com and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.


  1. That background fabric may not need beads. Black outline stitch with embroidery thread may be all it needs. It’s so perfect as a wall, natural looking, but also man-made. I’m thinking perhaps less is more on that section.

  2. You’re probably right, Cathy, but it’s too late.,as I’ve never seen a surface that I didn’t want to cover..:) The photos for the next two upcoming blogs about this piece were taken two days apart, and well… stuff happened! I probably will have less obvious embellishments in the background area, as I really want the rocks to stand out, AND I’m spending more time looking at the piece from a distance to make that happen.

  3. I was pretty sure it was too late when I commented! Some people actually schedule blogs after ALL the steps are done. I’m never that far ahead! Looking forward to seeing more progress on this one.

  4. Oh, I have lists for my two blog sites about what I’m going to write and the photos for them about two months ahead of time. Inserted in between are new pieces of work, like this one, that I’ll get 3-4 postings about. However, actually writing the blogs… I’m doing good to be 1 week ahead…;)

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