Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making a Concept Piece for Grace Church

Here is the concept piece I worked on in August for Grace Church.

Worshipers took home half sheets of blue and yellow papers with scripture verses and questions for reflection and meditation. The following week they brought their papers to the baptismal font, tore them up and dropped them in the water.

The next few weeks I picked leaves from the day lilies and lilies of the valley in my garden, cooked them in my fiber pot with chemicals, and incorporated them into the torn paper to make a pulp. I even pressed a few petals from the lilies and added a few wild flowers.

Here’s the thing about concept pieces: you read about an idea and it’s so interesting you just have to try it out. I read about thread-embedded paper to make a patchwork quilt effect and just had to try it. This means I poured the pulp into my deckle box for a sheet of paper, took it out, placed nylon threads a half inch from the edges on all four sides, made another sheet and couched it directly on top of the first, sandwiching in the threads to make them part of the paper. Day after day, over forty times. You’ll notice only half of them are in the frame in this picture. We’ll call the papers on the frame not shown our “practice piece” that showed us what didn’t work. Did you know nylon thread is practically invisible? Especially when you’re trying to tie it in removable bows on a frame.

But in the end we had recycled green paper that resulted from blue and yellow offered meditations mixed with lilies (“behold the lilies of the field….”) arranged in the shape of a cross. Other papers, some red (signifying shed blood), some green mixed with red, were placed around the cross in the frame. And we could see something new created from the old. This visual art was displayed for our communion service.