This list of quotes will include Quaker artists commenting on Friendly art as well as their experience just as Friends.

image092                                (Meeting for Worship by Ann Martyn)


Christ Jesus …. bids us consider the lilies how they grow, in more royalty than Solomon. But contrary to this, (it is said) we must look at no colors, nor make anything that is changeable colors as the hills are, nor sell them, nor wear them: but we must be all in one dress and one color: this is a silly poor gospel.  Margaret Fell


Quakers have only within the last four or five decades become aware of the power of the arts, but they are more and more realizing it and responding to it …. The arts can be more effective than pamphlets, sermons or lectures. When these are forgotten, we will still remember one line of a poem or song. ‘We Shall Overcome’ made the March on Washington an unforgettable experience. Beethoven’s ‘Requiem’, Durer’s ‘Apocalypse’ or Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ speak more eloquently for humanity and against war than any intellectual appeal.  Vally Weigl


Could we (artists) have a better background that our Quaker reliance upon the Spirit and its mighty movings?….  I came back to them so late that my work has suffered….  My most very recent trends are stronger and better than my old ones and when good and imaginative work turns out, I know my better grasp of Friends principles back it up.   Olive Schreiner


If the artist’s work is his worship, if he earnestly desires to serve God and through Him, man, the artist will in the end achieve that peace of man, that mystery of matter which will bring him to the foot of the Cross.  Fritz Eichenberg


Right there, in the silence you have the unique quality of a Friends Meeting.  If God is trying to say something, the thinking goes, how we can hear Him amid  the psalms, sermons, and recited prayers of a conventional church service?  So for 350 years Quakers have been sitting down, shutting up and listening instead….  For me the focused, expectant silence of the Meeting was like nothing I’d ever experienced.  Birdsong or traffic noises would mingle with the occasional cough, or creak of a seat, within the room.  And after perhaps ten minutes there would be a sense of the silence deepening – like a coastal shelf falling away beneath our feet.  Tom Robinson


In calm and cool and silence, once again I find my old accustomed place among/My brethren, where, perchance, no human tongue/Shall utter words; where never hymn is sung,/Nor deep-toned organ blown, nor censer swung,/Nor dim light falling through the pictured pane!/There, syllabled by silence, let me hear/The still small voice which reached the prophet’s ear;/Read in my heart a still diviner law/Than Israel’s leader on his table saw!/There let me strive with each besetting sin,/Recall my wandering fancies, and restrain/The sore disquiet of a restless brain;/And, as the path of duty is made plain,/May grace be given that I may walk therein,/Not like the hireling, for his selfish gain,/With backward glances and reluctant tread,/Making a merit of his coward dread,/But, cheerful, in the light around me thrown,/Walking as one to pleasant service led;/Doing God’s will as if it were my own,/Yet trusting not in mine, but in His strength alone.  From the poem “First Day Thoughts”, John Greenleaf Whittier


(An anonymous Friend upon being introduced to the Quaker poet Barnard Barton)  “What, art thou the versifying man?  That is a thing quite out of my way.” 


Emily,/did you see the flowers as the match lit,/as fire exploded from your father’s fuel-soaked clothes, /burning like a fast wick to light my conscience?  From the poem “Norman Morrison”, Errol Hess


My experience with Quakerism permeates everything I write.  I have been shaped by the Quaker example of listening and relating to that of God in everyone and every creature.  In my books whenever people resolve differences by  intersecting simply irreconcilable differences -that comes directly out of what I’ve seen among Quakers.   Joan Slonczewski


We never see the light;/Yet, lest we doubt it,/By it we see all things-/Nothing without it.  From the poem “Dawn is Forever” by E. Merrill Root


It was the silence that drew me, that deep healing silence of the Meeting at its best, when the search of each is intensified by the search of all, when the “gentle motions”, the “breathings and stirrings” of the Spirit which is within each and beyond all, are expectantly waited and often experienced.  In the plain room with proportion for its only beauty, where men and women sat motionless, suspended between time and eternity, I found each Sunday just enough of acceptance, of strength, of inner serenity to carry me through the rest of the week until the next Sunday. My searching, restless, arid heart was like a stranded boat which was lifted for a time on buoyant waters from an ocean beyond the boundaries of my selfhood.  From Quiet Pilgrimage, Elizabeth Grey Vining


When I begin to write a poem, I have no more knowledge of what will happen than when I stand to speak in Meeting.  In both experiences there is a flash of excitement, a kind of blending of insight and flow and the resolution.  Words are a sort of shadow form of the deep, hidden push.  Winifred Rawlins


I put you in a situation where you feel the physicality of light.  James Turrell


Be still and cool in thy own mind.  George Fox