Friday, September 21, 2012

International Day of Peace

"The International Day of Peace, a.k.a. "Peace Day" provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date."

Maire's original post:
and the blog that she started: got a lot of us thinking about how we could increase awareness about the pursuit of world peace and how we might get our "positive vibes" out there to be felt by others.  I think that most people chose to make actual flags but I've not been in a fiber frame of mind during the last year.  I've only spent a little time crocheting and knitting when in past years, it's been almost impossible to separate me from my hooks and needles.  I chose to go a completely different route.

When I started thinking about my submission to the flags for peace project in recognition of the International Day of Peace, I first made a list of images that are associated with the concept of peace.

  • Peace symbol created using the semaphore symbols for N & D (nuclear disarmament)

rainbow peace sign

  • “V” hand sign using index and middle fingers (In WWII, it meant “victory” but was adopted by war protestors as a hand symbol for “peace”)

Winston Churchill Signing V For Victory

  • International Peace Flag (rainbow flag with the word “Peace”)

Rainbow Banner
  • Olive Branch [Goddess of Peace (Eirene or Pax) held an olive branch in her outstretched hand & symbol was later adopted by Christians]
  • Dove (Christian motif)

  • White Poppies as used by the Women’s Cooperative Guild who wished that the white poppies that they distributed would serve "as a pledge to peace that war must not happen again"

  • Buddhist motifs such as prayer flags and prayer wheels (they suggest the arduous path to inner peace and eventual world peace)

Water-powered prayer wheels

  • Outstretched helping hand

Gandhi Peace Festival Poster w/ Outstretched Helping Hands

  • Hindu and Jain motifs (There is a variety of symbols for “ahimsa” or peace of nonviolence which served as the basis of Hinduisn, Jainism, and Buddhism.  This was the core of Gandhi’s beliefs and teachings.)

jain symbol of Ahimsa, dedication to non-violence and self-control

As I pondered those symbols, I realized that I did not want to fall back on those because most of them have their origins in religion or are actually considered subversive (the circular and hand peace symbols) by certain segments of the American population.  I wanted to make something that could symbolize what I believe embodies “peace”.  I first chose an evergreen tree but realized that it could be confused with a cedar of Lebanon.   So, I simplified my choice to that of a green leaf because a leaf that is green is still alive and growing and can represent our growth as we walk our individual paths to inner peace.  A green leaf can symbolize environmental balance.  I believe that we must return nature to her proper balance before we will ever be able to attain “world peace”.  I think that understanding nature leads to a greater understanding of man.  It is my theory that the universal needs such as food, clean air & water, unpolluted land on which to live and farm, and human rights will be what eventually unites the world in the common goal of “peace” because all the wars are not furthering those goals.  These wars of ideology are not helping anyone.

My object is not a flag to be hung outdoors but is instead a pendant to be worn to remind the wearer that the goal of world peace will be attained only through the works of each individual.

A rectangle of poplar wood is layered with etched copper that has a leaf-shaped window with crocheted green cotton thread peeking through.

The back of the pendant was branded with the words “Path To Peace” and a spiral as a physical representation that the path to peace will not always be easy or comfortable.

The individual stitches of the crocheted cotton represent each of the many things that we can do to achieve the goal of “world peace”.


  1. this is beautiful and meaningful... your post is informative and interesting and i appreciate what you brought to the conversation... your points are indeed why the blog was named flags for peace - instead of referencing prayer flags (though i did use an image because i love how they seem to send out peaceful thoughts into the air)...
    this is a very special piece, indeed - i just love every part of it - thank you so much for contributing your voice to the day -

    1. Thank you so much. I've really enjoyed participating and the entire process involved. :)

  2. A very thoughtful interpretation! As-Salamu Alayku. (Not that I'm religious, but any greeting that includes "peace" in it is okay by me.)

    1. Peace be to you, as well :)

      It was a fun project that has given me lots of ideas so, I'll play a bit and see where it goes!

  3. What a lovely personal interpretation of peace. It's exquisite.

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer. I visited your blog and your art is both amazing & beautiful. I have a friend who dyed fabric using rusty debris from Hurricane Katrina and used it for an art quilt. I think she would really appreciate your work.

  4. That piece is so wonderful. I love the way you added so many 'peace' symbols into it. Very thoughtful and creative. Andrea

    1. Thanks, Andrea! I really enjoyed the process and intend to participate next year, too. I've got a whole year to come up with something and I still feel kind of nervous...I think that's a good thing!

  5. What a cool and meaningful pendant.

    1. Thanks, Barb :) It felt good to work on something like that for a change.