Wearable Art

Take Me Deeper: Love

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16

When I saw the verse for this week, I was worried. John 3:16 is perhaps the best known verse in the Bible. I didn't want to just illustrate the verse, I wanted to own it.

And yet...I think I ended up illustrating it. All week I waited for an image. Instead, I was captivated by the simplicity and depth of this single verse. God so loved...that He gave. I couldn't get away from the sacrifice in these verses. God so loved that He gave. I went through the cans of nails in the barn.

I asked my son Gabe if he could shape this nail for me. He brought me this:

It's all primitive and perfect, isn't it?

God so loved the world. The world. All of us. Every single one. I thought I was pretty open minded, until I tried living with this verse all week. God loves the world. Playing that constantly in my mind while listening to the news, navigating a difficult week and interacting with people who push all my buttons...God loves every single one. Not just loves, So Loves.

I pulled out fibers from around the world, saris from India, a brocade from China, a Maori print, Bolivian alpaca yarn scraps, etc. Textiles are a universal language. Every culture produces textiles that speak identity.

 I cut the fabric into strips and laid them out on water soluble stabilizer.

I cut the fabric into strips and laid them out on water soluble stabilizer.

 Here is my little bundle of fibers including wool, all wrapped up in the water soluble stabilizer. I did some free motion stitching with gold thread to hold all the fibers together.

Here is my little bundle of fibers including wool, all wrapped up in the water soluble stabilizer. I did some free motion stitching with gold thread to hold all the fibers together.

The stabilizer rinsed away and I assembled a cuff. A verse illustration.

 
 

 

Take Me Deeper: Beginning the Journey

I am one of the moderators over at His Kingdom Come, a social site for Christian artists. One of the on-going projects for 2015 titled Take Me Deeper, is a weekly Bible study with artistic response. There are various and varied groups of artists using different mediums to respond to what they hear God speaking in them. My task is to create sample projects for the Textile and Fiber Art group. The theme for January is Transformation and the verse for Week 1 is:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:1-2

As I started to pray through this, the very first thing I thought of was that I wanted to portray transformation as gradual using an ombre pattern in some way.

Next I got caught up in a (not so tangential) tangent: transformation is possible because Christ broke our chains. We are no longer slaves to sin and death, but can choose to make ourselves available to Him. We offer ourselves as living sacrifices and He changes us, right? If my shackles have been broken--all of them--then why am I still wearing some of them? What is keeping me from shaking them off? Exploring this question in prayer this week has been really quite eye-opening.

I wanted to portray the broken shackles/chains in some way and making a cuff seemed like the best visual. The problem was that the shackles had to be broken. I considered various options for a "broken" cuff that was sufficiently intact that it could be worn. I settled on a loom beaded cuff using a broken warp technique. Here is my project page:

 
 

I applied the ombre-like effect to the broken warp sections on the cuff. The beads start brown at the bottom (from the miry clay), transition to topaz, then a matte metal, silver and eventually gold to symbolize how we are washed and refined. Each section on the broken warp has 40 beads on it for the 40's of transformation (40 days and nights of rain to transform the earth, 40 years of wandering in the desert to transform the hearts of God's people, etc.) The solid sections (representing the old shackles) are woven using a confetti mix of the brown, topaz and matte metal with RED mixed in (for Christ's blood that set us free) and GOLD to represent God With Us through it all.

I like the result and it reminds me to question those shackles I needlessly carry. I also love wearable art that is spiritually symbolic. It reminds me of all those verses in the Bible about wearing the Word of God (on your head, on your wrist, as a garment, as armor, etc.).

I wrote out the pattern with a confidant beginner in mind. It is available on my etsy shop for $6.50.

Transform Bracelet on Creator Spiritus Shop on Etsy