Jean and I started this chapter the week of Ash Wednesday; from the beginning, for some reason, I had "grapes" in my head. And crosses. Maybe it was to do with the beginning of Lent--the image, the color purple. I kept trying to get away from it... to come up with a non-crucifixy visual to work with... but I kept coming back here. So on Ash Wednesday I started my Lenten discipline with a sketch--a cross/trellis, with the fruit of the abiding vine.
The Taking Flight instruction called for pieces of painted, inked polymer clay forming a sort of sculpture on a painted background. I knew I wanted to stamp on the individual grapes; initially I thought to "name" my fears ON the grapes. I quickly realized, though, that that wouldn't work--because the fears are not the fruits. At least--I don't want them to be. So I decided to use pieced "fears" words to imply the cross/trellis shape, and instead stamp the grapes with words and images pointing to the antidote to fear: LOVE.
There were so many moments on the way through this project where--well, I won't say the proverbial lightbulb came on, but there were at least occasional glimmers, catching my attention, drawing my inner vision to places where I need to be more tuned in. Naming those four fears was a biggie--I thought surely I must have more fears, but everything seemed to fall into those categories: shame, loss, waste, isolation. I have some serious work to do on those.
And even the shape of things; my plan was to roll the clay perfectly evenly, cut it into identical circles to make exactly just-so grapey grapes. But grapes aren't just-so. (And maybe I'm not just-so, either--imagine that.) So instead I made balls of clay, smooshed them with my thumb, left a print in each one before stamping a "love" image. Water, for cycles and birth and flow. Tree, for life, and even for knowledge. Rainbow, for promise. Hearts and cross, of course. And arms spread wide--the celebration, the openness, the embrace, the Christ.
(Thanks, Jean, for lending the bisque stamps!! Couldn't have gotten here without them! Can't wait til we are working on these pieces together again.)