Gathering Blue

Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving Symbol Analysis

Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving Symbol Icon
The artists in Gathering Blue have special objects—a cloth, a carving—that seem to communicate with their owners and let them see, or at least sense, the future. For Kira, and especially for Thomas, these objects remind their owners of a time when they were at their most creative—before the Council of Guardians took them in and controlled their art by ordering them to work on art for the Gathering. Lowry, a highly experienced writer at this point in her career, may see the cloth and carving as symbols of artistic inspiration and creativity. Artistic inspiration, or the daemon, as some writers have called it, is a strange thing: many great writers have reported that their daemons seem to know the right words or images before the artists themselves do. It’s as if there is a part of the artist’s brain that can predict the future. In many cases, the rules of society limit artistic creativity: we see this very clearly with Thomas, and later Kira—indeed, Thomas was more creative as a small child than he is as an “employee” of the guardians. The cloth and carving, then, externalize what all great artists (including Lowry) say they have: a voice in their head that tells them how to create and is always fighting to be heard.

Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving Quotes in Gathering Blue

The Gathering Blue quotes below all refer to the symbol of Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Gathering Blue published in 2012.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Now, secret in her hand, the cloth seemed to speak a silent, pulsing message to Kira. It told her there was danger still. But it told her also that she was to be saved.

Related Characters: Kira
Related Symbols: Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes

"It's a lovely thing," he said, seeing the small cloth. Kira stroked it before she closed the lid.
"It speaks to me somehow," she told him. "It seems almost to have life." She smiled, embarrassed, because she knew it was an odd thing and that he would not understand and could perhaps find her foolish.
But Thomas nodded. "Yes," he said to her surprise. "I have a piece of wood that does the same. One I carved long ago, when I was just a tyke.
"And sometimes I feel it in my fingers still, the knowledge that I had then.” He turned to leave.
That you had then? No more? The knowledge doesn't stay? Kira was dismayed at the thought but she said nothing to her friend.

Related Characters: Kira (speaker), Thomas the Carver (speaker)
Related Symbols: Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

The fabric gave a kind of answer but it was no more than a flutter, like a breeze across her that she would not remember when she woke at dawn. The scrap told her something of her father — something important, something that mattered — but the knowledge entered her sleep, trembling through like a dream, and in the morning she did not know that it was there at all.

Related Characters: Kira, Christopher
Related Symbols: Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving Symbol Timeline in Gathering Blue

The timeline below shows where the symbol Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving appears in Gathering Blue. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...signs of strength as a baby. In her pocket, she feels a small square of cloth she wove long ago, and how she came to be a great weaver without any... (full context)
Chapter 4
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...that exceptions can be made. As he does so, Kira feels the small piece of cloth in her pocket, and thinks about weaving. Katrina taught her how to dye threads; in... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...change in the guardians’ behavior, in her favor. Vandara notices it, too. Kira clutches the cloth in her pocket, which suddenly feels warm to her. She wove the cloth when her... (full context)
Chapter 6
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...The rock feels small and cold, and doesn’t bring her any comfort. She touches her cloth, which she’s placed under her pillow. The cloth feels warm and comforting. Kira falls asleep.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...large place at the top of the ruin staff where Thomas will add his own carvings. He also gives Kira a gift: a small box, carved to resemble the plants Kira... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
...that she’s doing a good job. Her hands are tired, but when she takes her cloth out of the box Thomas gave her, she feels calm. When Kira goes to visit... (full context)
Chapter 10
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion Theme Icon
Later that night, Kira tries to explain how her cloth warned her about Matt, but finds it difficult to explain. Thomas suggests that the cloth... (full context)
Chapter 11
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...what could have happened to her father. As she falls asleep, she thinks about her cloth—the cloth tells her something important about her father, but when she wakes up she finds... (full context)
Chapter 13
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...Kira that she’s doing an excellent job with the robe, and leaves. Kira touches her cloth, but it brings her no comfort. She thinks she can hear a child crying. (full context)
Chapter 15
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...the future. She points out that she and Thomas have similar forms of “knowledge”: Kira’s cloth seems to speak to her, and Thomas’s carving speaks to him. Perhaps this is a... (full context)
Chapter 16
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...wait until night falls. Without knowing exactly why, Kira tells Thomas to bring his wood carving with him when they go to find Jo. Kira takes her cloth. To muffle their... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion Theme Icon
Thomas and Kira quietly walk to the Jo’s room on the lower floor. Kira’s cloth tells her that they’re not in danger. Thomas uses his key to open the door,... (full context)
Chapter 18
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...quest to find blue, even though he’s been gone for many days. Kira touches her cloth, hoping for consolation, but she feels none. Sometimes, she hears Jo chanting repetitively downstairs. Occasionally,... (full context)