newcomers to our Meeting have seen the large contemporary tapestries
hanging in our Schoolhouse. Most see them as part of the decor, as do
many Meeting members and attenders. But, in fact, they weren’t always
When people crowded the large room of the Schoolhouse’s new
addition, the hard surface plaster walls and uncarpeted floors made it
difficult to hear specific conversations. Paul McVickar, a long-time
member of our Meeting, thought large wall hangings would absorb some of
the noises and make selective hearing easier.
His examination of the room showed that there were four large wall
areas available, so using the seasons as a theme for tapestries to cover
them seemed a natural solution, particularly since it could express
Quaker sensitivity to nature and God's world.
McVickar divided each tapestry into sky and earth. He placed a tree,
beginning as a sapling in the spring and growing in each panel to final
maturity in the winter, as the centerpiece of each hanging. The trees
stood out against the colors of the sun and sky.
He chose to use different colors and textures of cloth in a technique
of appliqué for his tapestries. Anyone who does any sewing has a bag of
scraps left over from projects completed. So McVickar asked the members
and attenders of Meeting to contribute some. Bags and bags came in,
supplying him with a rich palette of colors and textures to achieve what
he had envisioned.
The artist thought of spring as both rainy and sunny with faint light
green things budding out while summer offered a richness of flowering
and life. He saw autumn as a riot of color, leaves falling, and a sky of
a deeper richer blue. Winter brought snow, bare sleeping trees which
make patterns of branches and trunks.
Today, the tapestries look as new as when they were first made and
everyone views them as a part of our Schoolhouse’s decor.