Thursday, March 19, 2009


You didn't think I was going to do this indefinitely, did you? It's hard work and takes a lot of time. I am loving the process and some of the pieces I have completed, but I am missing taking more careful time to go through the creative process.

Someone commented that I could change the "rules" as needed and she is correct, but I really want to stick with it as I've loosely defined it for myself. The process has certainly given me more appreciation for artists who do these *every day* projects. It takes dedication.

I finished #19 on Wednesday.
Wisdom and Understanding
11 x 9" (#19)

I'll be making 40 pieces. I decided to embark on this project as a Lenten discipline. There are many reasons that I didn't share the details of my process in the beginning. First, I consider my faith to be quite private and personal. But at this halfway point, I thought I'd write a few thoughts about my process.

Here is the halfway piece.
Invited 2
9 x 9" (#20)

I begin each day by reading the scripture assigned for the day from the Daily Lectionary, trying to read only for content. It's just 10 to 20 verses, so very short. Sometimes I have instant ideas for the art, but I try to set those aside and let the words just soak in. I don't read the Bible regularly. I hear Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospels in church every Sunday, but I wanted part of this process to be about becoming more familiar with what the Bible has to say to me. It certainly has. Some days more than others.

Then I read the passage again for further understanding and initial inspiration for the art. Usually, I read it one more time.

I don't listen to any music or podcasts during the whole process. I try to be open to further insights from the symbols, stories and mood of the scripture. This is hard. Especially when I am doing hand embroidery which is such a slow somewhat mindless process, I want to fill the time with something other than daydreaming, I mean... being open to the spirit.

I strive to portray the themes and mood of the scripture in the art, but avoid obviously representational images. A few of the pieces have images straight out of the scripture and they were very fun to create, but that was because the scripture really lent itself to my style.

Here is Spacious Place from day #13. The reading for the day was Psalm 31 which includes the line, "I have become like broken pottery." Ding! Lightbulb! I've got broken pottery in my button stash.

It also includes the line,"My times are in your hands." Aha! My watch face collection!
So that piece was really a great combination of symbolism, spiritual growth and understanding and a nice piece of art as a result. I think it's my favorite thus far. I also love the title, "Spacious Place." I just love the sound of those words together in addition their meaning.

The process continues as I finish the entire piece including, backing and edge finishing. Honestly, I was better at finishing in the early part of Lent. Sometimes I add final touches on the following day. But I am going to try to get back to finishing each day. It feels more complete -- not just literally.

I choose a title from the words in the scripture. With my regular work, I usually have a tough time coming up with titles, so I really like this process. I try not to choose obvious titles because I don't want the scripture to hit the viewer over the head. I know what it means and I would probably be happy to share my ideas with others, but I also want the art to stand on its own without the accompanying scripture.

You can see all my blog posts including the daily works by clicking on "daily" at the very bottom of any of the posts. I've uploaded some of them to my Flickr which is a nice option to see all the thumbnails in one group.

Thanks so much for your comments and enthusiasm. Sharing them via the blog has been a wonderful motivator for me to continue.


Gerrie said...

Aha! and I see the spirituality of these oozing through my computer screen. I love this idea. Next year, I would love to join you.

Jo said...

Thanks so much for sharing the basis for these pieces! - I thought they were great (as your pieces usually are) but knowing where your inspiration came from makes them even more uplifting - I expect I will take a new look at them in a different light - some of us appreciate spirituality when we find it (witnessing comes in all forms)...

Kristin L said...

Thank you for sharing your process. It adds a depth of understanding for us, the viewers. More importantly, I think that using meditation as a jumping off point and something like a time period to define the scope of the project is a great way for artists of any faith (or none at all) to bring more meaning and focus into what they are doing. Thanks again for the inspiration. And this is way more fun than giving up chocolate!

Carmen Rose said...

Bless your heart, I would love to see them all! And all in order in a gallery with good lighting would be so cool!

Anonymous said...

Deborah, I'm with Carmen, send you to the gallery! Thank you for sharing not only your art, but your ideas. Both inspire me so much. I'm glad to be your friend!! :) Lucy

Jane said...

Love the whole process you are going through.
It has inspired me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the basis for your process. What a wonderful idea! I am new to your blog but started reading about the time you began sharing these pieces. I have enjoyed each piece but now I want to go back and review them all since you have given us a better understanding of your inspiration. You have really inspired me! -Dawn

Anonymous said...

I had thought you were doing this as Lenten meditation. Thank you for sharing and, as always, you are inspiring.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing that! I love this idea and such great meaning behind each peice. but really doing it for yourself. I think I might have to do this later this summer. this idea would make a great book!

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful. Well done, great site too. Thanks!

Unknown said...

What a great idea. As we are, according to the Bible made in the image of the Creator I am sure He (she?!!) thinks so too.

momma helen said...

Oh, my. I don't know what it is about "Invited 2." I just started weeping when I saw it. Then when I went to look at it again, I teared up again. Something really speaks to me from it--but I can't put my finger on it. WOW.

And Helen, our Lenten Program at church is called, "In the Image of the Creator." A different artist speaks each week and leads us in an activity. Wonderful!

Suzanne Morgan said...

Awesome! thanks for sharing your process with us. I wish you strength to finish, because you've given yourself a hard task. You will probably learn some valuable insights on how to overcome creative blocks that you can share later(those days when you just don't feel like creating!)Hang in there!

sher said...

Deborah, Thanks for sharing how you are creating your Lenten pieces. I wish I'd structured my Lenten goal as well - I did decide to 'make stuff' each day, but neglected to say 'finish stuff'!

Grace said...

I love the idea of a daily inspiration and meditation before you start work on these pieces. I've often wanted to do this but have yet to be inspired to create every day like this.

I did the TIFF Challenge last year but only lasted till July before I had to give up (too many other commitments in the way).

Will have to take your idea and rework it for me. Mmmmh....