Welcome to the garden of turning points in our lives.
This section is placed on the left side of our central tree: it's a place for the heart and for positive vibes, a haven for inner peace, a place for love and friendship, pleasure and melancholy.
In order to better put you in the spirit of this realistic and spiritual place, I invite you first to the floral corner (lower right-hand side), where two flower pots represent the friendships that enrich our lives. This place is important -- it's a sign of joy, gratitude, listening to one another and the bonding of souls.
If we linger just for a minute on the pot in the lower right-hand corner, we can see both flowers that are standing tall and others that are drooping downwards. Those standing straight up represent the positive energy that others bring to our lives; it's not the number of friends you have that is important, but the spiritual sketch of your friendships as a whole.
The flowers pointing downwards represent your own capacity for friendship. Friendship is a pair of scales, and the weight of a person's feelings is always measured as a result. To maintain a good balance, you can't have too many flowers in the upper part unless you can manage to keep the lower part in bloom as well. (Just a little side note for those who want to personalize their friendship flower pot).
If you have four flowers or less in the lower section of the pot, that means you are fulfilled; if you stitch more flowers, that means you're drowning and you need to rediscover a better balance.
A little bit higher in this section, we see a church, two people, hearts, a cross and borders.
The church is what I call my Spiritual Home, in which I was baptized, made my first communion, got married and in which our three children were baptized.
The cross atop the church is placed above the heart of the oath of Love, as when we were married, we took from the church the spiritual soul that it awakened in us.
The symbol of the church is rather complex for me. Although I was baptized a Catholic and made my communion due to my parents' faith, I don't entirely think of myself as a Catholic, a religion from which I keep only the Holy Spirit (or spiritual soul) as my guide and protector. We have baptized our three children in this faith and we got married at the baptism of our third son, having fully developed our love for each other, which could only get bigger and be shared among the five members of the family.
I respect the church but, as a non-practicing Catholic, I think of myself as a "borrower" from the religion, by both choice and obligation (weddings, baptisms and deaths).
If you are a practicing Catholic, you should stitch the cross atop the church in golden metallic thread. If you are not, fill in the windows entirely with stitches, making the building a simple church like any other, that you might run across when you're out walking.
The borders are there to protect your love from life's many storms. They are the guardians of all unions, whether they be religious, common law marriages or more free-form...
The numbers represent time passing by. We'll see in another section that the numbers will forever mark our time spent in this garden.
Two cats side-by-side are walking on top of the numbers. One is named Pompon, the other Gavroche. They are two faithful friends that I've had for companions, one when I was single and the other once I got married.
The cat under the borders is my current cat, Guizmo, who is sharing this marquoir experience with me, as his hairs are all over my stitching! :)
Under the two cats is the artist's workshop. I painted for a long time before I took up stitching again, and this period of my life was very rich in terms of my spiritual rebuilding.
When you paint, you live through times of extreme solitude. But that never scared me. In fact, it strangely always helped me refresh my spirit. The colors are the rhythms and phases of life that we all go through: light, medium and dark colors create a balance (see section on the significance of the fruits on the tree).
This palette is the yin and yang of our canvas.
The boat at the bottom of the section represents autonomy and independence. It is also a sign of poetry and emotional sensitivity. We convey our feelings over time, so the lighthouse is the steady landmark that makes sure our feelings never get spoiled and remain as pure as ever.
The waves follow their path in a band of hearts, as if to transport us to fields of love and friendship.
More coming up in part 4...
Textes et illustrations ©Isabelle Vautier
Thank you very much to Susan Stumme for the translation in English of the pages of the Marquoir Story.