Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Notes About Our Advent Art

We recently completed a series that that is available for use in an art gallery or worship space. It is available in blue as seen below and in purple as seen here. Each fiber art panel is 15 x 36" and is accompanied by the writing of Rev. Dawn Carlson. The writing is meant to guide the viewer through a quiet, meditative experience while observing the art during Advent. The scripture references are from the Lectionary (Year C).  
The Time Is Coming 
This is what we were thinking about when designing each panel (numbered left to right)--

1-A Time to Watch 
(Jeremiah 33:14-16  •  Psalm 25:1-10  •  1 Thessalonians 3:9-13  •  Luke 21:25-36)

Time and rhythm and cycles are represented by the big circle.
The righteous branch is the branch.
The swirls reference staying alert, activeness and energy.
The curved line at the bottom is a calling to wonder "what are you still waiting to see?"

2-A Time to Think
(Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4  •  Luke 1:68-79  •  Philippians 1:3-11  •  Luke 3:1-6)

The big circle is the messenger.
Light into darkness is around the big circle.
Peace is represented by the laurel branch.
The empty space symbolizes the wonderment of "where do we look for messengers?"

3-A Time to Come Home
(Zephaniah 3:14-20  •  Isaiah 12:2-6  •  Philippians 4:4-7  •  Luke 3:7-18)

The waves symbolize drawing water from the well and Baptism.
The large circle is restoration.
The small circles are rejoicing, expectation and/or wheat chaff.

4-A Time to Sing
(Micah 5:2-5a  •  Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7  •  Hebrews 10:5-10  •  Luke 1:39-45, (46-55))

The large circle says "here I am" or is symbolic of the womb or being filled with the Spirit.
The small circles are the flock.

Hope you may meditate on this work and find even more meaning beyond our original intention.

Advent: Worship Banner/Fiber Art for Gallery Display

Last spring we became interested in exploring a collaboration that allowed us to create art with that had accompanying written work. We were thrilled that Rev. Dawn Carlson was willing to work with us and share her gift of insight and writing. (You'll love her bio at the end of this post!) The studying of the scripture, the focusing on key words and phrases, and the sketching led to two sets of four piece art. One is in purple and one is in blue (scroll down to see the blue). They are intended to be used in an art gallery. But they certainly could be used in a worship space individually or all together. Each of the four pieces is 15 x 36". In several weeks we will add ministry stoles that coordinate with this art to our website.

Read more about the purple Advent banners here.
The process we walked through looked a little like this:

We sketched:

We explored new techniques:
These pieces will be offered in the near future on our website here.

We gathered supplies and stitched:
Thanks for helping with the ironing mom!
We ended up with two sets of art, and here is the blue one:
Read more about the blue Advent banners here.
The work can be read about and seen in greater detail on our website here.

A little about our collaborator... The "Rev. Dawn", as her congregation affectionately calls her, ministers at First Congregational Church (NACCC) in Terre Haute, Indiana, is a second career minister having spent another lifetime in education and special needs program development. She laughs that it all gave her amazingly useful skills for the ministry. Clearly, teaching middle school provides just what one needs for working with church boards and national committees and councils.  A native of south Texas, Dawn lives with her husband, John Kraft, along the western edge of Eastern Time where they enjoy reading, writing and shared devotion to baseball.  Dawn notes that her greatest teacher, aside from her 94 year old biblical scholar mom, is her 30 year old son, Alex, who has autism, a great sense of humor and teaches her daily about unconditional love.  Devoted to her diverse church family, Dawn enjoys planning themes for the church year and the varied writing opportunity it affords her – sermons, devotionals, and Bible studies.  Someday, however, she’ll return to her unfinished novel – about the retired CIA officer who pastors a Congregational church.

We loved working with you Rev. Dawn! 
Thanks for giving a bit of your summer for this project!

Next blog post will artistically dissect each panel based upon our inspiration.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

If you follow us on all of our social media outlets or read our blog posts you might know that this summer has been a little different for us. We are so thankful for your patience if we've had to delay a commission or a shipment. My father's battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma ended on Friday, August 21st. I was humbled to be with my mom and sister and brother while my dad journeyed through his last days in hospice. I have said good bye to other people in my lifetime but I learned so much more in this intimate experience. I have before recognized the circle of life but this walk took me further. I was especially touched by the death process having so many similarities to the birth process. It's hard work at times. There are rewards. There is a great roller coaster of emotion. It helps me to write and remember so here are a few more things that came to my mind during the last few weeks--
One of the ways Dad supported me as an adult,
was to embrace the ministries my family stood behind.
This picture was taken prior to a benefit for The Open Door  .

What I have been holding onto are memories of my dad doing simple, quiet, yet meaningful things. Such as:
  • Getting on the floor with me as a child to build blocks,
  • Taking me, as a preteen, out on the sailboat after his already full day at the office,
  • Mailing me articles about artists and museums that he thought might interest me as I was studying to be an art teacher,
  • Stopping at our house to shoot hoops (in a suit) with his grandchildren when he was passing through the town that I lived in,
  • Teaching men math so they could move forward professionally out of a transitional time in their life,
  • Using a hammer to build a house for someone that had never had an opportunity to be a homeowner.
  • Or making sure his bird feeders were always full.
Equally important he modeled being involved in the life of his church family. This was part of my growing up years and as an adult it was the center of many conversations.  I will miss being in his presence. We could just sit and be together and that was good. I am thankful that he is no longer sick but anticipate (God willing) seeing him in the place where everything is made new.

So now my family moves on. My mom will learn a new way of life. We will all look for ways to keep dad's memory alive for the generations to come. We will try to honor God by mimicking the activities of this good and faithful servant. I am feeling blessed to have had a dad that I can say that about.