Sunday, June 1, 2014

art is my religion . . .

 . . .  and I am so fortunate to belong to a church which can count many artists as their members, and  that celebrates and supports artists of all kinds, and this weekend was a perfect example.  

photo by maureen gormley
On Saturday my church, the First Parish of Sherborn area church,  hosted their first Festival of the Arts.  The festival is a wonderful expansion of the beautiful annual tradition, Art in Bloom, where members of the church create floral arrangements based on or inspired by works of art done by the youth of the church.  Art in Bloom is always a treat but this year they added more, a special Performing Arts presentation that included 20-25 talented people ages 10 to ...... well, seniors! as well as an art exhibition of works by member artists, which included yours truly.  

As the theme of the show was 'rebirth' I decide to exhibit 'dear jeff . . . '  the story behind this sculpture adds to the piece and I realized that I haven't fuller described it on any of my different sites.  So here is a concise description of the inspiration behind the work.  
The story of 'dear jeff . . . '  
This dress is a commissioned sculpture for a man, Jeff,  who lost his fiancée in the events of 9/11/2001.  She had flown to New York early that morning to attend a business breakfast at the Windows of the World restaurant.  

On the 10 year anniversary of this tragedy Jeff felt that it was time to let go of his box of memories.  He contacted me and asked me if I could create something from his collection of letters and cards and remnants from the tragedy. I was honored to have been asked and accepted the task.

Jeff handed me a large box full of letters; notes between the couple during college, cards of encouragement for new jobs, the announcement about their engagement, articles about 9/11, the missing person flyers, and then an abundance of condolences cards, from friends, family, coworkers, communities and even strangers. These communiques played a huge role is Jeff's recovery; the power of a caring community.

When Jeff approached me, he didn't want a memorial of his fiancée and her death. He wanted a sculpture that would portray the importance of community, and the positive growth that can come through adversity, as well as a celebration of Amy's spirit.  The essence of this dress is similiar to the story of the phoenix, who rises  from the ashes renewed after apparent disaster or destruction.  peace

Along with 'dear jeff . . . ', I exhibited 'to have and to hold . . . ' which is always a crowd pleaser with its skirt made out of hundreds if not thousands white rubber gloves. And since this was more of an intimate venue I was able to let people truly experience all of the aspects of the sculpture,  this piece speaks to four out of the five senses; you see it, you can smell the latex/rubber gloves, you can touch it (when given permission from the artist :) and when it is being touched, one can hear it.  It is always a treat to give people, especially children, the chance to really interact with a work of art.

And to add to all this wonderful creativity, this past week the church received their new processional banner which I helped design.  I worked with Gage Heath from our church and once we created the design the lovely and talented Karen Holmgren from Standing on the Side of Love Stoles made our design come to life!!!  The new banner needed to have our message, 'we welcome all' and to represent our dedication to love, justice and service.

So I feel extremely blessed to belong to a church with such a strong artistic community, and one which not only celebrates artists and us creative type, this church/community celebrate everyone, which is a practice I wish more people would adopt.