Trinity: a Mural for St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Textile mural, 14′ wide and 7.5′ long.  Constructed in 17 separate panels.

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeForest.  She snapped it with her phone as a great kindness to me.  I had not yet seen all the panels hanging together because it is too large for my small studio.

Trinity Mural

Here is what I wrote to the people of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont, Texas:

The happiest part of this mural project for me, the artist, is knowing that it will be used in the fellowship hall. During design and construction, I imagined members of your faith family pausing during a meal and using the mural for conversation. A father and his children play a counting game. How many trees? Flowers? Shells? Spirals? (Good luck with the last one.) Several older friends notice the storm near the cross and reflect about difficult times and drawing near to Christ.

There is much of me in this mural: designs, fabrics, and techniques collected and evolved over years of work. Moreover, there is much of what has created the communion of saints in this mural.

The mural conveys the mystery, joy, and energy of the triune God who is with us always. The prominent cross, representing Christ, is made with three layers. In the middle, a simple brown cross to recall the crucifixion. Under it, an expansive green net cross for the growing church. The top cross with red and orange flames represents spirit-filled Christians, especially remembering St. Stephen and those who worship in this congregation. God the creator is represented by the underground river, an omnipresent source of sustaining love, at the bottom of each panel. The dove symbol of the Holy Spirit, appears seven times. In the first panel, it ushers in the mystery of creation. The dove swoops down close to the baptism shell, then rises up to bless the elements of grain and grapes. With linen in its beak, it attends the cross. And it moves us out of the mural and into the world with an olive branch for peace.

The making of the mural has been a journey of trust. My studio is too small to see all the panels at one time. First I made the cross. Then constructing the complex underground river got my mind and heart into work. I hesitated about the next step, but was blessed with the idea: work up from the river and out from the cross. That is how the panels were created. I built in both lively, colorful areas and quiet, meditative spaces. I worked for contrast so the doves are clearly visible. There are flowers in each of the liturgical colors: blue, green, purple, red, and white.   One odd bunny snuggles at the foot of the cross. His name is Basil and he represents the child in each of us. He is there for comfort. The waywardness of the sheep in the pasture is intentional. Their theme song is “You can go your own way.” I like some humor in my days.

When I realized I had technologically failed to secure all the photos I took of the panels before shipping, I panicked. I sat down, visualizing the mural hung in a dimly lit room. I was aware of the strong river and the prominent cross. And I sensed the dove moving through the space. My concerns ceased. All the colors, all the shapes, all the textures are secondary to the river, the cross, and the dove. God is with us. Amen.

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Tomatoes On The Plate


My father, a farmer, finished August dinners and suppers by filling his emptied plate with sliced tomatoes. He liberally sprinkled sugar over the juicy rounds, then ate them all. This is a clear childhood memory for me, and my brother shares it.

What I don’t know is if Daddy liked tomatoes or not.  Did he relish his sweet crop or was he eating because there was plenty more on the vine? I am asking too late; there is no one living to answer.

What I learned from my father is to use the resources at hand and to be seasonal.  There are seven bags of fabric, processing dye, out in the garage.  Today I harnessed the heat of early September to turn white yardage into the stuff of fabric art.  It is good work.

Guess The Recipient

CreativeSprint wants me to make a post card and send it.

I don’t want to do that.

But I did make a card I will not send and I am giving myself 5 minutes to think who could be the recipient.

I am having a good time and I am glad ________ is not here. X O

 

Ask Someone to Help With a New Technique

I started a poetry MOOC yesterday.  One of the presenters talked about her technique of collecting words she encountered through her day.  When she was ready to write, she intuitively combined different parts of her collection and found pleasing rhythm and observation. Today I cross trained my poetry lesson into CreativeSprint: collection and juxtaposition.

Organic Declaration

Make some legal graffiti?  I nearly gave myself a pass from CreativeSprint’s 12th assignment.

The prompt includes the suggestion of leaves or chalk to make a temporary statement.  I wanted to stay in my little mats format.  I have never given graffiti a thought.       

I proclaimed myself a Trinitarian with small leaves in three colors.

Who Is Telling The Story?

I am twisting today’s assignment from CreativeSprint from make a puzzle to illustrate a conundrum. As a result of some recent publicity and the opportunity for more, I am asking, “Who wants to tell my story and why?”

 

Creativity, Irony, and the IRS

Creativity: CreativeSprint’s prompt on day 8 instructs me to flip to a random page in a book at hand and make something inspired by the first sentence you read.

Irony: the sentence is “Marry well,” which I did less than 6 months ago.

 

The IRS?  As I cut out the rings for N and N, dear Ned polishes off our first joint tax return.  I do love the guy who appreciates my creative soul.