A Mormon Image: Quilting the Tree of Life

What counts as art is an interesting question. We have a bias toward thinking of art in terms of oil paintings, bronze statues, or marble carvings. One of the unfortunate effects of this bias is that it makes much of the art done by women invisibile. You’ll note that most of the work done in those mediums has been done by men. However, if we expand our sense of what constitutes art, there are mediums where women clearly dominate. Consider quilting.

This quilt is by Jodi Warner and was submitted in one of the international art competitions sponsored by the Church. If you look at it closely you can find 24 different stories from the Book of Mormon. In actual life, the quilt is quite large and the level of detail and quality of workmanship is really superb. As Adam has pointed out the tree of life is increasingly showing up as a Mormon icon. One of the fun things about the tree of life image is that it can be shown in lots of different mediums and lots of different styles, as this quilt demonstrates.

4 comments for “A Mormon Image: Quilting the Tree of Life

  1. So, to combine the different art/tree commentaries into Nate’s most recent one:
    1. Nate, you mention that the Tree can be represented in different styles, aka types of trees, right? Is this similar/different to cultural plays that depict Jesus as belonging to ‘their’ specific ethnic group?
    2. Clark, re: deconstruction of trees/mormon belief. I admit I didnt’ understand completely what you were trying to say. What it jogged in my mind though, was that in the Spirit of Foucault’s (sp?) archeology, perhaps the symbolism of trees is found in many cultures precisely because at the start; all human cultures had the truth via Adam, and latter, via Noah. I guess I’ve always wanted to read a book that can trace how most world beliefs can be tied to truth of the original/restored gospel.

  2. The quilt is beautiful. I am living in China and would like to make my own tree of life, teaching English. Is it possible to get a pattern. Thankyou for you answer. Sharon Chelli

  3. Sharon: I am affraid that I have no idea where to find a pattern. Jodi Warner no doubt made the pattern for this quilt herself. Good luck! NBO

  4. I am the quilt artist for the quilt pictured. I only now am aware this image was posted, and so this comment is probably too late. The design was an original, with some of the story illustrations taking strong inspiration from other illustrators’ published works. This design is NOT available as a pattern, but I have a smaller design approx. 27″ x 36″ with a different style leaf, similar pieced background design, roots section, pieced borders (non-pictorial) titled “Roots & Branches: Tree of Life” available for retail mail order, under my business Hearthsewn Patterns, retail m.o. price including postage is $9.00 US

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