The Lord’s Prayer – an Aramaic transliteration in surface embroidery: 7 – ‘Lead us not into temptation’ and ‘Thy will be done’ lines

This is how I dealt with the central area of the Lord’s Prayer panel. Three of the lines from the middle of the  panel needed visually separating, so that it was easier to read. The space was only narrow, and I considered various embroidered treatments, such as lines of couched beads, bead-and-sequin combinations, and so on. But in the end I decided to keep it simple.

I’ve had some lovely goldwork threads in my stash for years, always hanging on to them ready for that ‘special project’. Well, this was such a project. For the first separation line, I used a piece of pearl purl gold wire from Golden Hinde (a really good UK goldwork online supplier). I cut a piece of wire half the length of the line I wanted to cover, and then gently pulled the wire from both ends, stretching the coils so that they ended up being a wavy line of wire rather than a stiff coil that looked more like a line of gold beads. I trimmed the length to exactly the size I needed. Then I took a six-strand length of Anchor 1006 Red and wound it carefully into the ‘dips’ in the gold wire, making the wire now have a striped appearance. I left about six inches of thread at each end, to allow for attaching securely to the back of the fabric. I attached both ends quite tightly, and then used one strand of the 1006 Red to couch every third coil down, stitching at an angle so that the couching stitches didn’t show.

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For the next separation line I used a piece of milliary wire, which is a twisted wire with an added edge of little triangular trim, which is really pretty. I couched this down with Guterman thread, with the triangles facing downwards.

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I wanted the ‘Wela tahlan’ area to have a very  ‘light’ touch, as far as the decoration was concerned. This is the line that is usually translated ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’, but a translation from the Aramaic would be something along the lines of ‘Don’t let us enter forgetfulness; the temptation of false appearances’, or ‘Don’t let surface things delude us, but free us from what holds us back’. I wanted to give the impression, through the embroidery, that simple presence is what is needed to not ‘forget’ the sacred in everyday life. So, I decided to just put tiny decorative elements in the top corners of the box – lazy daisy stitches in Coats Ophir thread, with a single fly stitch underneath, with one bright red bead as a highlight, in each corner. That’s how simple it gets!

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“Nehwey sebyanach aykanna d’bwashmaya aph b’arha” is usually written in the English version as ‘Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”. Interpretations from the Aramaic are:

Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms.

Create in me a divine co-operation – from many selves, one voice, one action.

As we find your love in ours, let heaven and nature form a new creation.

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I used this Moorish border design for the inspiration for this part of the panel. I liked the regularity of it, and the way it seemed to suggest two distinct parts – the circles, and the leaves (the ‘heaven’ and the ‘earth’).

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I interpreted the border by stitching wound thread roses for the circles, and lazy daisy stitch flowers in shades of blue (they were meant to be leaves, but I like using blue more than green!). The stems are one strand of Anchor stranded 352 Chestnut brown worked in stem stitch, highlighted with a single line of Coats Ophir gold, couched down with Guterman thread. I was contemplating adding a busy French knot background to make the whole section look more blue, but decided when I got this far that it looked ‘finished’, so I just edged it with Kreinik #16 braid.

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