There is a difference!


Pop quiz: what’s the difference between a labyrinth and a maze? I didn’t know either, until Meg Cox introduced us to Laurel Reinhardt in the June issue. Laurel, a former psychologist, uses the labyrinth as it has been used since ancient times – as a spiritual tool. And seeking a portable format for something that’s usually made of stone, Laurel makes labyrinth quilts.

Here’s the difference: a labyrinth gives you a path (albeit a circuitous one) to follow, to the center and back out. A maze, on the other hand, is designed to confuse you. Imagine my surprise the other day when I saw a post about an antique (ca. 1850, from the DAR Museum) maze quilt on Facebook. The picture is on the website (scroll down to see it) and also on the Quilt Index (; search the DAR Museum collection). This red and white quilt is definitely a maze! I started in the center and I’d probably still be there if I hadn’t given up. I challenge you to try it! (I also challenge you not to get sidetracked and spend hours looking at the quilts on the Quilt Index, but that’s another story.)

On Monday I ran into my friend Pat, who was inspired by Laurel’s work to make a labyrinth quilt. She’s going to piece it, but hasn’t quite figured out how yet. We agreed that one way or another, the experience is bound to be enlightening.

Jan Magee, The Quilt Life

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