ABOUT THE ARTIST
JANET BEAR McTAVISH
The Peace Labyrinth represents the culmination of a lifetime of experience and learning for Janet McTavish. She began as an oil painter after studying art at Oberlin College in Ohio, at the Design Department of the University of Minnesota and privately with practicing artists, but expanding her artistic media to combine painting with quilting after retiring from a career in research. Drawn to pictorial art quilts in particular, she developed new techniques to aid in this process and taught them to others. Her quilts have won awards in national quilt shows and have been featured in special exhibits and at conferences and community celebrations.
Recently, her quilts have focused on themes of peace and incorporate a wide range of embellishing techniques.
“I had been concerned for some time about the increasing fear that I saw among many Americans after the events of 09/11/2001. I began to see people classifying others on the basis of race, religion, looks and clothing to the point where people were being discriminated against, profiled, banned from public transportation and even arrested because of the fear of some and the silence of others.”
“The idea (for a Peace Labyrinth) came from a dream in which I was walking a labyrinth in which I passed cubicles representing all the world’s major faiths and religions. On the way in I was learning about each one and on the way out I was walking behind the cubicles where I saw displayed their version of what we call ‘The Golden Rule’.”
“In my dream, I also carried a rock with me that represented all the negativity and uneasiness people feel when confronted with new ideas, different perspectives, and cultures that are unfamiliar. When I reached the center of the labyrinth, I came to a peaceful waterfall where I was encouraged to leave my rock and my own discomfort behind and to find peace. I then passed through a garden where I was encouraged to share the peace and love that I had found with everyone I met. When I awoke from this dream, I realized that . . . what is needed is information – not sound bites and propaganda. . . I knew I needed to share what I had learned with others.”
Janet’s dream had revealed to her that all major world faiths and traditions share a central belief in “The Golden Rule” or the “Law of Reciprocity” that instructs us to treat others as we would have them treat us. The resulting Peace Labyrinth: Quilting the Golden Rule takes viewers from the earliest of humankind’s struggles to understand their environment through history to the present time. Completed in May, 2012, it has been seen by thousands of people in a variety of spaces and events.”
In 2014, Janet donated the QGR exhibit to the Dayton International Peace Museum with the hopes that her legacy of peace can continue for many years to come.