Time for Amendment of Life

3 layered lectern frontal. Fabric screen printed and stenciled.

Work engages and excites me when I explore new techniques but also when I use established process and pattern in a fresh way. A recent commission created a deep satisfaction through stewardship of materials, time, and relationship. My fingers repeated decades old take apart skills I learned from my Grandmother. My creative brain asked for fresh perspective, recalling a favorite line from childhood worship liturgy: time for amendment of life.

Due to damage on frontals for the lectern and pulpit (but not the altar frontal),the objective was to design new frontals which complement the existing piece, creating a new cohesive set. I was stuck on the idea of replacing the damaged work until I started taking the pieces apart. I checked my original notes: duplication was not the goal. The unavailability of a close substitute for the fabric surprised and frustrated me. As I took out tiny stitches, I realized I needed more fabrics. I also devised a way to add fabric to the altar without changing the existing frontal.

I used skills from my years fabricating items for home furnishing, specifically attaching fringe and tassels. I used fabric painting to transform plain textiles with liturgical symbols. I began painting fabric as creative play; it is proving to be an essential process to find fabric for my purposes.

One of the greatest comforts was communicating with the liaison from the congregation’s altar guild. We had successfully emailed, texted, and video chatted our way through a large project a year ago. We became comfortable asking for more information or for clarification. My fairly disciplined approach to communication faltered in mid 2020. She did not doubt my reliability, but instead offered empathy and asked more questions. I am grateful for her call bringing me into the present. That too was an amendment to life.

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