‘Beach Finger Labyrinth’ Dorset Button

I’ve managed to complete a long-standing Dorset Button project this summer, which is practically miraculous! Trying to craft when the house is a mix of ‘out of commission’ and ‘total chaos’ has been… let’s call it ‘frustrating’, and leave it at that.

The 12″ Dorset Button background to my ‘Beach Finger Labyrinth’

I’ve had the vision for this 12″ ‘button’ since last winter, and it took a while to get it started in the spring; my first photo of it is dated 6th May but it was started well before that! I first met finger labyrinths at Sheldon Retreat Centre a few years back. Like all labyrinths, they can help people to meditate and pray, but to use a finger labarynth, as with a walked one, requires people to be able to see, or to want to have their eyes open. Those with sight loss might find this tricky, and some of us can find it helpful to reflect and listen to God with our eyes closed; for example, I prefer to listen to sermons with my eyes closed, as I’m less prone to being distracted by other people, architecture, etc…

I’ve seen photos of finger labyrinths carved into wood showing that tactile finger labyrinths are a good idea, but obviously I’m no wood carver – that’s my son’s skill-set. So I came up with the idea of creating one using my Dorset Button making skills and on my beloved ‘beach’ theme.

I’ve ended up creating this 12″ labyrinth on a blanket-stitched tapestry frame, to be both a wall-hanging and also something that can be held in a lap. I used remnant and other yarns (including some from the ever inspirational Gaia Fibre Studio in Cornwall, and Spin and Wander in Wales), upcycled fabrics including sari silk from Sue’s Country Creations, varnished and drilled seashells mostly beachcombed along the Solent shore, and beads (upcycled and bought from various suppliers including iBeads), and a length of upholstery trim gleaned from the remnants at The Little Upholster in Peasenhall, Suffolk last summer. There’s even some little Bird’s-Eye Buttons hidden in there!

Above are some ‘work in progress’ photos, and below is the finished product. At the bottom of this post are some further photos of the finger labyrinth in use. Photo-creds as always to my husband Graham. He’s suggested that I could do something similar with the idea of a Rosary?!

I fear, that despite being on a 12″ frame there isn’t quite enough room for people’s fingers – either that or mine have got very fat. However, spent some time with it, I think the idea is worth persuing. Hopefully I can meet up with one or two online friends who live with sight loss, to see what they think of it. I’m going to try and use it both as a sample of my work and in possible retreat and other activities, but would welcome people’s thoughts as to whether and how the idea should be developed and adapted please?

The finished ‘Beach Finger Labyrinth’ lap tray

Now my focus turns to preparations for my son’s wedding (and his brides dried flower bouquet!) and the ‘Woven Nature’ workshop I’m running with Sophie Hacker at Gilbert White’s House and Gardens, both next month! They will be particularly helping me work out if and how the creative and artistic side of my work and ministry should develop. More on all the excitement of both creative activities on future blog posts.

‘Beach Finger Labyrinth’ as a wall-hanging
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