Yin Yang Quilting Frame

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Project by wallybob posted 01-04-2010 09:36 PM 2118 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In Chinese cosmology, Yin and Yang are two opposite but complementary principles that regulate the functioning of the cosmos. Their repeated alternation provides the energy necessary for the cosmos to sustain itself, and their continuous joining and separation is at the origin of the rise and the disappearance of the entities and phenomena that exist within the world of the “ten thousand things” (wanwu).
As a new member to LJ this was the first project I submitted. I have never submitted any of my work to scrutiny by anyone other than family or friends but felt this was the right opportunity to do so in the Yin Yang Contest.

The quilting frame was designed and built for my mother who has quilted all her life and continues to quilt at the age of 86 even though she suffers from Alzheimer’s. The ability to quilt and stay as mentally active, I believe, is one of the things that keeps her going as well as she does.

When designing the piece, my first attempt at bent lamination, the idea of Yin Yang never entered my conscious thought but upon reflection I see several aspects of the project that should qualify it.

I chose the materials simply because I liked the contrast of the dark walnut to the lightness of the maple. The relationship of dark and light in Yin Yang.

The walnut stand made up of 14 laminations was designed in the shape of the fish to represent my mother’s strong religious belief and because I knew it was a symbol she could still recognize and appreciate.

Taoism is a beautiful religion, actually it is a “predecessor of Christianity”, but the one most misunderstood, because for its symbol is used the dualistic anagram of the Yin and Yang, born 1,500 years before Taoism. “He who lives in Tao, and Tao in him, is a good men: He keeps in good terms with men, takes things easy, loves the world as he does his own person; he is simple like an infant, cautious, modest, yielding. He is humble, and thus he remains entire. He is subtle, penetrating and profound; avoids excess, extravagance, and indulgence. He makes the self of the people his self”... he acts to the good or to the bad with goodness, and to the faithful the translation of the Bible in Chinese reads, “In the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God” John1:1… the “Tao” is “infinite profundity”, “the origin of all things”, “a stabilizing force, for where Tao is equilibrium”... “it existed before heaven and earth”, “it is eternal”, “stands alone, and never changes, pervades everywhere”, “Tao is the source of all things, the treasure of good men, and the sustainer of bad men”... He is the “Word”, Jesus Christ! He returns love for great hatred”...

The dual hoop frame, the inner solid hoop made of six laminations and the outer hoop made of four laminations, were designed to be purely functional in the quilting process. They are held in place on the frame by two turned maple knobs that allow adjustment to the hoop at different angles.

The principles of Yin and Yang, opposite forces of change which complement and cyclically give rise to one another, operated through the physical mechanism of “the five material agents,” or wu-hsing .

The fused daffodil panels, designed and made by wife, and were made as a tribute to my mother who until unable to do so maintained a beautiful garden and flowers continue to be an uplifting part of her day.
Yin and Yang transform each other: like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky – an intrinsically yang movement. Then when it reaches its full potential height it will descend.

The frame was designed to be disassembled and portable so it could travel as mom also spends time with my younger brother on the east coast. The stretcher or foot rest to mom, is attached using inserts and furniture connectors concealed by maple plugs.

According to the “Great Plan” chapter of the Shujing (Classic of Documents), wuxing refers to material substances that have certain functional attributes: Metal is said to obey and change.

“The house with an old grandparent harbors a jewel”

Thanks for looking,


3 comments so far

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 10:07 PM

That is a fantastic piece. I love the design. The daffodil panels by your wife are a nice touch and well done. My mother is 82 and a quilter also so I will have to show her your beauty.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4362 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 11:55 PM

how wonderful. Lovely quilting frame and the Yin Yang effect (and write-up) is wonderful!!
Thank you for taking the time to write all of that.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3317 days

#3 posted 01-06-2010 12:06 AM

great work and history
thank´s for sharing


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