I had fun using the book cover graphics as guides to record some of my favorite theological explorations over the past several years onto a silk scarf.
By no means an exclusive list, they include
The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, Ilia Delio; Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault; The Divine Dance, Richard Rohr;
The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, Cynthia Bourgeault; Super, Natural Christians, Sallie McFague, From Teinhard to Omega, ed. Ilia Delio;
The Divine Milieu, and Hymn of the Universe, both by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; Making All Things New, Ilio Delia.
Some of these books I’ve read and re-read, underlined, defaced with comments and notes, and tabbed. Others have influenced me by osmosis: being around people who immersed themselves and consequently me in these authors’ thoughts. The latter include Sally McFague and Cynthia Bourgeault, whose books are on my reading list.
Just finished: an altar parament to add to the Easter Glory banners for Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Kennewick WA. I expanded and modified the medallion imagery in the Easter Glory banners (see previous post!) to make a sunburst. Yes, it could also be a flower! My intention is to capture the sacred, hope-filled and life-giving nature of both flower and sun. Silk dye on silk, 33″x22.5″, part of “Easter Glory” collection.
Now all the pieces in the 13-piece set Kennewick Christmas are finished. It took me a lot longer to sew each piece, some by hand, than I thought it would!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Syrian refugees as paint this set, and how, to a refugee in a stranger’s land, any space that is warm and dry can seem fit for a king. Even a manger meant for a place to hold food for farm animals is desirable if it’s the best place available. And that was the best place Mary could find to set her King of Kings, the baby Jesus, the night he was born.
Joseph and Mary must have been worried, anxious, tired and dirty from their travels and from the emotionally exhausting process of bringing a baby into the world. Yet I’ve depicted them both as shining with halos, basking in the sacred Light of God.
I Iwonder if you and I can see the sacred Light of God reflected from the homeless strangers we encounter in our daily lives today?
It was fun to work with the idea of light shining onto the manger, and illuminating the straw. And to carry the theme of sacred golden light throughout the banners and paraments. And to depict the Light of God shining on all of us through the halos on the stoles.
I thought I’d get a few pictures of how the stoles look when worn. Unfortunately the only model available was me. So here they are:
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows (Tacoma, WA) has lots of beautiful art in its sanctuary, including some great stained glass windows. My friend Janet pointed out her favorite part of the glass, a symbol of a dove. She asked me if I could make her a Deacon’s stole with this design on it, transposing the blues to red instead.
To the left is a photo of the stained glass, which is about 12 feet high, and on the right is my watercolor rendition of the design in reds. I chose to add some purples and spring greens for spark.
The next step was to use my red interpretation on a deacon’s stole pattern that I designed several years ago. I found two asymmetrical black buttons in a fancy knitting store to help strengthen the joint between the two sides. Can you see them?
I like how the blues and greens and dark black-reds add just enough contrast to the overall red.
Janet’s stole modeled by a friend here in Bellingham, showing the side view. Thanks Sharry!
This winter I accomplished a long-term goal to develop a stole representing our great Northwest environment.
The idea was to include day and night, winter and summer, mountains, plains and ocean in one piece!
My goal was to express the sacred beauty and presence of God I experience living in this varied landscape. Wearing this stole in our Green Season rites and rituals in our churches is a way of expressing gratitude to the Creator for such a wonderful home. My hope is to see this sacredness celebrated in our churches.
The seed for this stole design came from a painting I completed in 2006, celebrating life at Holden Village in the North Cascades. Can you see in the two vertical strips, one yellow and the other purple, one summer and one winter, the start of the design?
I promised myself I’d some day make a stole out of this painting, and now here it is!
I’m honored to be making another set of banners for Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia this year. The graduating class of 2012, LTSP, has chosen to commission a pair of banners to continue the set ordered last year by the class of 2011.
Last year’s banners were also in pairs: Green, purple, and gold/white. You can see two of them in the picture below.
Here’s a peek into the process:
I start with white silk pinned to a wooden frame the size of the banner, which my husband has made. This frame is 16 feet long and 45 inches wide. We set it up in the living room and adjacent shop area, after moving all the furniture away.
First I experiment with the colors I’d like to use, see how they mix together. Then I mix up a batch big enough to cover all the silk.
I use techniques similar to watercolor painting when I do these nice loose silk paintings. The silk is made damp first, so that the dyes will move and blend into each other softly. Then I apply the dye with sponge brushes.
After the silk is completely dry, usually over night, I remove it from the frame, lay it over newsprint paper, and roll it up in the paper.
Here you can see the whole first red banner, with paper underneath, extending from the living room into our shop.
Next I roll the silk and paper up together, drill a hole into the top of the roll (avoiding the silk of course), and stick it into a piece of stove pipe.
The silk roll then hangs vertically down in the center of the stove pipe. I top the pipe off with newspaper and a towel as a lid.
I carry the stove pipe outside and put it into a big pot full of water, with a propane burner underneath. After sealing the pot to the stove pipe with aluminum foil and masking tape I light the fire. The water boils, making steam. The moist heat chemically bonds the dyes to the silk.
The silk steams for 4 hours. After letting it cool for a while I bring the pipe back into the house and unroll the silk. Usually the colors are brighter after they are steamed, so it’s always a pleasure to see what’s inside. Very much like opening a potter’s kiln, to see what the new pots look like!
For these banners, I cut the bottoms into an inverted arch, to match the arches in their new home. Then the hems are hand-stitched, so I can control the tension of the thread. This way they hang better.
All that’s left now is to finish the hemming, pack them into cardboard tubes, and send them off!