Family Mosaic Quilt


 Mosaics and patchwork quilting are intrinsically related arts. Both are conceived as separate individual decorated units that are united to create a whole. Both have come down through history, changing somewhat as new materials became available, and as cultures and tastes in art have changed. Mosaics, made of long lasting materials are easily traced in history, flourishing immensely during the Roman period. We have a huge collection of mosaics from that period.

There are similarities between Roman geometric mosaics and patchwork quilting, not only esthetic but also in the representation of a coded message and a synthesis in form. And as in mosaics, and also in quilting, the vibrations of color and the beauty of the work derives from the use of varied materials. In the case of Roman mosaics due to the careful selection in the use of varied materials, in the choice among various kinds of marble. The wider possibilities of selection of local rock and marble in African mosaics made these mosaics even more vivid and fascinating.

Quilts, made of more fragile material, are much more difficult to trace back to origins, and the changing of available materials has greatly affected changing techniques. The oldest known quilt is thousands of years old, found in a Mongolian cave. The most famous early quilt is from the fourteenth century. The technique used was a solid piece, padded and stitched to form designs in relief. Early quilts, several layers of textile stitched together, were necessary for warmth. Strip quilts were narrow strips, due to the size of hand looms, stitched together and padded. The advent of industrial looms radically changed techniques of quilting, just as the availability of colored glass radically changed techniques in creating mosaics.

Patchwork quilts were always used in Europe and early America, as textiles were precious materials, never wasted, bits stitched together to create covers, layered for warmth. As industrial looms made textiles of various colors and designs available, attention could be paid to creating decorative designs. This technique was brought to America by the Amish and the Mennonites, where it rapidly spread and became an accepted social activity for women. Country fairs were held and the most beautiful quilts were awarded, becoming treasured family possessions. Certain block designs were given specific names, and according to oral history, definite meaning. The history of the Underground Railroad, routes followed by escaped slaves from the south who fled north, were marked by quilts indicating the route, dangers, and safe houses where they could receive aid. The story, and some of these quilts, have become family tradition for many.

Richard Zambon, mosaicist who studied at the famous Spilimbergo School of Mosaic, has united these two art techniques, creating quilting patterns in mosaic natural materials. He has now added a third concept to his works, similar in the construction of a whole entity from separate individual pieces.

*Bert Hellinger describes an “ancient order that works inside us, that controls much more than we are aware. Good order comes about when peace has been made for the whole system.” When “peace has been made” and love flows so too does the energy (peace) within a family. When love stops, so does the energy stop, gets stuck, shunted, or repressed. Family members hinder love from flowing when they experience pain, trauma, grief, loss and peace is nowhere to be found. All families experience similar events and, generation after generation, often there remains no workable template available for the family to feel genuine love, to move forward, or evolve beyond survival to come to peace.

The Orders of Love offer the family a way to let love flow again, to untangle from its knotted web, to assist the energy, love, care, and compassion to move along the family’s life path. Recurring patterns become evident and “re-ordering” becomes necessary for movement and growth to occur. We call these orders, the Order of Precedence, the Order of Inclusion, and the Order of Balance.

The Order of Precedence means that whoever comes first takes the first place, and the others follow in order. The parents come first and then the children. An older brother or sister comes before his/her younger siblings. Each person is considered in their chronological appearance within the family system.

The Order of Inclusion holds that each member of a family belongs equally to the family and is respected in the same way, regardless of any personal quality or particular fate. Every person belongs equally.

The Order of Balance shows that each person has to carry their fate completely, with all of its burdens with every turn of events and with all of the feelings that accompany it. Hand-in-hand with one’s individual fate, each person carries their own personal responsibility for all they have done in their life. No other family member can take on another’s fate. Those who come later in the family are us, the children. We are the ones who take up these energies and feel and behave like our ancestors. Often, we are “entangled” in the form of our attitudes, beliefs, values, opinions, morals, ethics, and principles like those before us and we too, aren’t able to allow love, energy, or peace to flow. These energies are very powerful, work unconsciously, and determine a great deal more than we recognize in our everyday waking consciousness.


This project unites mosaics, quilting, and family constellations. The work is composed of twelve individual pieces, each a twelve centimeter square, every one with a different quilting design. Together the pieces form a mosaic of thirty-two centimeters by forty-eight centimeters. Each piece will be a gift to a member of the family following the order of precedence as described above, and will be kept by each in their own home as an individual piece of art. At family reunions the separate squares will be placed together, revealing the work as a single entity in all of its beauty and symbolism.

In reuniting the pieces the order of precedence will always be followed, beginning with the eldest member of the family whose square will be placed in the top left hand corner, and in sequence of age, the rest of the family members will add their pieces.

Obviously the representation and number of pieces can grow, rendering larger and richer the beauty of the total artwork.

This work can also be seen in the light of the present COVID 19 crisis which has forced, obviously, physical distance among the family members. The impossibility of physical contact creates great confusion and insecurity in each of us and our families, seeming to force the mosaic squares as well to remain separated by a safe distance.

It will be a great relief once we have overcome this situation and are able to embrace family members without fear and anxiety. The pieces can be finally united to complete our mosaic, creating a beautiful and meaningful work of art.





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