Friday, April 24, 2009

A quilt with a story

Tangaroa's gift, a Maori legend.Long ago, a sea creature named Paua ( pronounced par-wah) had no shell. One day, Tangaroa, god of the sea, noticed the difficulties this created for Paua and decided to create a special covering for him.

Tangaroa said, "I will take from my domain the coolest blues of the ocean and ask of my brother Tane (pronounced tar-knee) (god of the forest) his freshest greens. From the dawn you shall have a tinge of violet, from the sunset a blush of pink, and overall there will be a shimmer of mother of pearl."With this, Tangaroa fashioned for Paua a wonderful coat that sparkled and dazzled with its beauty. But, alas, it was fragile and was soon broken by sea creatures envious of Paua's new appearance. Seeing this, Tangaroa strengthened the shell with many more layers.

Finally he added a camouflage coat to enable Paua to blend in with the drab grays and browns of the rocks.Then, Tangaroa charged Paua with the life-long task of adding layer upon delicate layer to his shell home, each a different hue and blend. So it was that Paua got his shell.To this day, he hugs the secret of his inner beauty to himself and only at the end of his life, when his empty shell washes ashore, is his artistry revealed.

Tangaroas Gift, 2004
This is my quilt that is my memory of a trip home to New Zealand. The quilt pattern is northwind
My son in law went for a dive for the paua which was cooked for a shared family meal. The same shellfish you may know as abalone. I have had abalone here in Australia but the flesh is cream and it has a delicate flavour unlike these which have a very dark almost black flesh and have a strong flavour.
The Paua shell is highly polished and used to fashion jewellery and ornaments. In years past, people used the shells as ashtrays but this is no longer considered culturally sensitive as it is deemed disrespectful.

27 comments:

Crispy said...

Wonderful story and Beautiful Quilt, thank you for sharing the story, I love learning new things about different cultures.

Crispy

Nedra said...

Thank you for a beautiful story. I used to collect abalone shells along the California coastline as a child.
Your quilt is very pretty with all the bright colors.

Fiesta said...

Lovely story to go along with the lovely quilt.

soggybottomflats said...

What a gorgeous quilt. And thank you for sharing a wonderful story. Elaine

Lizzie said...

What an amazing legend and a pretty amazing quilt too, Lizzie

Maree said...

What a Lovely Story & I think You have Captured that Perfectly in Your Beautiful Quilt....
cheers

Linda said...

It's been a very long time since I've heard or read a Maori Legend, thank you for the lovely memories of home, and the image of the beautiful white beaches that I used to play on as a child. Stunning quilt Janet.

Kathie said...

beautiful shells, great story to go along with this beautiful quilt.
LOVE the colors, yes it reminds me of the sea.
Kathie

Quilt Hollow said...

Story for a quilt...wonderful. The colors are very pretty!!

kelley said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and quilt!! Hugs to you - kelley

amy said...

Thanks for the story and for sharing your lovely radiating quilt. Beautiful!

Nancy said...

Great story, great quilt. Thank you for sharing!

ranette said...

Oh what a wonderful story. The quilt is just awesome. You really have a talent in the way you put colors together.

magy said...

Hello,
Friend of Micki's here and linked to your blog.Love your work, so bright and cheery.The quilt at the top of your blog is outstanding. I love the colors and themes. This new one is awesome too. Keep up the good work
Maggey

Darlene said...

What a great story and your quilt is beautiful.

Carrie P. said...

Wow, it is amazing how much your quilt looks the inside of the shell. It is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the story too.
I do remember seeing those shells as ashtrays when I was a child. Glad they don't do that anymore.

Rhondi said...

Hi JAnet
The quilt is wonderful. I love the colors and the way they all blend into one another.
Yes I did make up the pattern as I went along on my quilt. I love working that way because you never know what it's going to look like until it's done.
Hugs, Rhondi

Janet said...

A great story, a lovely memory and a beautiful quilt!

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

On the long shot you can really see the quilt shimmer! It looks like the ripples after you skip rocks.

Kaaren said...

Thank you Janet for sharing this wonderful story. And your quilt fits it to a tee.

Diana said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful story of the paua shell. Your quilt is a perfect complement to the story.

Bernadette said...

I just found your blog (thanks to Lissa) and I love it! Your quilts are just gorgeous I also love repro's but also the freshness of the retros.I love the New Zealand connection as we visited four years ago and we are going again in one month.

Sue said...

That is so great, I love how it shimmers!

jean said...

Janet That story was wonderful, made me feel a little homesick. I remember when I was young an uncle of mine always told me Maori folklore stories, and I just couldn't listen to them often enough and that just bought those memories back, lovely. As usual your work is superb.
Now just per chance in your stash of quilts you don't happen to have calico garden (Florence Peto)if you do it needs an airing lol

MYRA said...

Wonderful! 8-)

Took a quick look through your blog... You do beautiful applique! Gorgeous work... Lovely projects! 8-)

I enjoyed my visit...

Sherri said...

I love the story, and I love your quilt...it certainly does remind me of the beauty of the ocean!

anne from finland said...

I love the Paua story! I´ve a brooch made of paua, which I got from my daughter, who is living in Auckland NZ! I´ve even seen myself pauas on the beaches.