Tag Archives: prayer

MAKING AN UP-CYCLED COLLAGE JOURNAL 2016 (Shellseekers Art + Soul, Deborah Stephan)

IMG_0531

“Gone Girl” DS (page in collage journal)

This is an economical way of making a journal that will help save the environment. It will also provide a way for slow de-cluttering of your bookshelf/library in the re-purposing of some of the books that you like but will not re-read or passed on.

Images and text will be used randomly throughout – unlike a regular notebook or journal. The idea is to promote freedom of expression and an acceptance of ‘mistakes’, poor penmanship and ‘primitive art’ as happy accidents or random acts of everyday art. The book will be messy, hopefully so untidy that others will not be tempted to read it as they would with a bought diary. It may look like a piece of junk – indeed like some of our lives do at times – yet in the messiness, patterns of beauty begin to emerge for the one who notices.

The spiritual quality of the book is hidden in the everydayness of its creativity. The purpose of the Shellseekers Collage Journal is to discover both our own selves and God as in the prayer of St. Augustine: “Lord let me know myself; let me know you.”

Making in 3 easy steps:

  • Select a pre-read book, either soft cover or hard cover, preferably one from your own collection or at least a book that you somewhat resonate with
  • Obscure the cover with collage materials glue-sticked on, either wrapping paper, newspaper or magazine images, tissue paper, foil gum wrapper, bus tickets, anything around your home that has been used before
  • Place a ruler along the inside of the right page rip about 3 pages out using the ruler as a guide so that when finished you have about a 1 inch remainder of the pages and do this every 30 pages or so intermittently to the end of the book (this is so when you start to collage the book will still be able to close)

 

Feedback comments and questions are always welcome.

 

Advertisements

True Colours

P1000842

“Scaffolding” 24″ x 24″ Acrylic on Gallery Canvas

 

Once in a while we are called upon to show our true colours. Such was the case as I considered which gallery to visit this week. A séance would be held at The Gordon Smith Gallery. I wanted to go to pray there for the protection of the attendees.

In preparation for the visit I pray before I go. I will pray there as I view the art. I will pray after the visit.

I view the invitation to the Séance for this evening. My first inclination was to steer clear of this event. Now I feel a need to see the show today before the event in question and then pray at home in the evening. This is unusual for me – to pray on location at a gallery.  Here is what I read:

Please join us for a meditative seance with Marcel Duchamp!

The Smith Gallery will host ‘An Evening With Marcel Duchamp’, comprised of audio recordings of a range of talks Duchamp gave during his lifetime.  

In the darkened confines of our ‘Process Gallery’ Duchamp will discuss his art, life & the readymades that made him famous – some 48 years after his death in 1968.  

This exploration of Duchamp in his own words lasts approximately 45 minutes.

I must add that I do not promote the event but consider this an uninvitation! Or perhaps an invitation for added prayer for protection those who will attend.

Link to Duchamp who changed forever how we think about art:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp

Epilogue:

I went, I saw, I prayed, and enjoyed the show very much. Gordon Smith was well represented by a 4-foot white painted tree root. Douglas Coupland’s multi-coloured thread spools bring awe again to the everyday object(s). The evening event, with its low key invitation, seemed to be a harking back to remembering rather than practicing any dark spirituality – but I do not know. I was not there. As a former mentor said, chew the meat and throw out the bones. We pick and choose what we want to be involved in.  We build and show the colours of the scaffolding of our inner lives also by what we support or decline.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” 

Book of Ephesians

Unloading the Dishwasher

I have not regularly unloaded the dishwasher for years. It was always my husband’s chore. I ignored the process unless there was a quality control issue. He never complained. Now he watches, unable to help, but supportive as always.

Over the past few months, I have noticed a pattern emerging of loading and unloading, of placement and displacement. I notice this morning that it has become a contemplative practice for me. It is like a form of Tai Chi, a whole body exercise, as I move back and forth between cupboard and dishwasher.

I find myself thinking about the day ahead. I pray for people, for situations, for grace…

They say that the best way to learn is to teach. The past six weeks have been filled with contemplative practices – often in theory. I speak of contemplative knitting as we get to know both ourselves and God and of contemplative collage as a way of waiting and discernment for the way ahead.

Undocumented until today, I practice without awareness – contemplative unloading of the dishwasher. This must be similar to – an updated version of – Brother Lawrence’s prayer while peeling potatoes of four centuries ago. God companions us when we are unaware – even as we develop our awareness skills. Hmm.

“Fall on my Knees” lyrics

http://thebrowders.com/lyrics/onmyknees.pdf

for the song check out Matthew Browder on youtube

IMG_3112

“Unloading the Dishwasher” DS

Hallowed Spaces and Holy Places

IMG_20151129_155522

“Jazz Vespers St. Andrews- Wesley”

iPad Photo DS 2015

The cedar-paneled room was in the basement of the institution. I was led there on a personal artist tour. An altar was set up with Bible and candle. Some chairs were in the small chapel space. Floor to ceiling framed photos lined one wall. The disabled guests here are remembered after they die. They each know that they will not be forgotten. It gives them comfort. I felt in awe of such respect and love but was not willing to be part of that group. It was God who made this space holy.

Another room surprised me with its presence in a different institution. Again I had had a personal tour to a room I did not know existed. A locked wood and glass cabinet was here. Books all bound the same; each had one name. Our conversation, for my benefit, was about a specific doctoral candidate’s thesis. But the door key was not found. Here too each person special to the group was honoured. These leaders were God chosen.

These two spaces caused me much thought. The visits were 4 years apart. My mind and heart saw their similarity only now. The first honoured the lowly of our society. It brought me to tears. The second storied tour inspired sadness. I would have liked to have been included in that group one day but was not willing to pay the price for entry here either. I am not of the most disabled lowly nor one of the elite doctoral academics. Both are equal in God’s economy. Only God knows how I will be remembered.

A raised cement labyrinth on a grassy area behind a sold building causes me to wonder if that neglected space would still be holy. Another labyrinth painted on tarmac shines barely visible as children play nearby. Does holiness come and go according to the use of the space?

What makes a place holy? I knit and pray in my garden room by the window. It seems that a place called Lourdes in France where lots of healings are reported to have happened would be called holy. A great place that lays over land and sea too is deemed holy as kings have been buried there. St. Columba founded this Iona Abbey in Scotland. Are some places more holy than others? Do more prayers get answered there?

We honour God and God shows up. Or perhaps God honours us so we can show up. The Celts called these spaces, thin places – landscapes where the kingdom of God has broken through the earth. Are they locations where the Spirit has broken through the hardness of the human heart? Is holiness a feeling that happens in God’s presence? This is what I ponder this third week of Advent.

What do you think? Have you experienced a holy place or a holy feeling?