Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shrines and Icons

First my apologies to the matchbox shrine artist to the left- I closed the window before uploading the link-now I can't find it. :(

Since part of my goal in the year in pursuit of practice is more art- I'm leading a workshop March 11th at Jeff Street on making shrines or icons with the theme "Witness". Our Lenten theme is Sustenance in the Desert and one Sunday we will be sharing about those who have been a source of sustenance for us and these shrines will be a part of that service. Don't we just do the coolest things at church?  So I decided to write a post with ideas that folks could come visit for ideas in preparation for this event.

Here is a brief definition from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of SHRINE

a : a case, box, or receptacle; especially : one in which sacred relics (as the bones of a saint) are depositedb : a place in which devotion is paid to a saint or deity :sanctuaryc : a niche containing a religious image
: a receptacle (as a tomb) for the dead
 3: a place or object hallowed by its associations

****Artistic ability in NOT needed to make a great tribute about someone who's sustained you. You can cut words from a magazine, include a photo, or trinket, ticket stub or receipt-anything that reminds you of what made that person so important. I will show you ways to incorporate those into a simple icon.

Here is my matchbook shrine

Ollie was a friend who came to Women's Prayer Breakfast with me for 20 years. She died a few years ago at 93 or 94. She was a wise, faithful, knowledgable woman who's faith inspired me. She was a 40+ year breast cancer survivor who loved Billy Collins' poetry and gave me an extra copy of Picnic Lightening. She read aloud from it and other works of poetry from time to time. I have a recording of one reading that is a super sweet memory.

For this matchbox, I painted the box pink, glued a metal word, shrunken book cover, little wax thread pink ribbon, added a cross sticker and stamped the word pray on a tiny jeweler's tag which I attached with a tiny brad. The sleeve is covered in paper and I had some baby bracelet beads that I strung with her name.
Again, a little glue, paper, paint - came together easily.

We can do something so simple as ironing words and pictures or drawings between waxed paper hearts. Beautifully effective! I can see a whole string of these beauties hanging as a lovely tribute.

Can you tell who the tribute below represents?
Here is my waxed paper shrine hanging on my back door.

Here is a closer, clearer view.

A bit more detail

This was simple to put together. I printed out an image of a gift given to me by this person, glued it onto a background cut out in the shape of a house, stamped the words "inspire" and Hope" which I will bring, cut out part of a sticker and added that along with another piece of paper with the definition of the word "cherish". This person used to collect fortune cookie fortunes so I included part of one. I scraped some bits of crayon onto the waxed paper avoiding the house so it wouldn't smear it. I sandwiched all of it between two sheets of waxed paper and ironed on a low setting with no water in the iron. Cut out the heart shape and I sewed around the edge with some waxed thread and added a charm at the bottom.

Here is a shrine that is for sale but I put it in as an example of how elaborate you could chose to be.

A simple cardboard shrine is lovely!

Another thought would be to bring a photo of the person, we will make a construction paper or fun foam frame that you can embellish with words or items.

For those who like thinking ahead and mulling things over,
ideas of things to bring, but not required, I will have a bunch of materials:

magazine words that describe your "sustainer" if you cut them out ahead of time (magazines will be there)
photo or drawing of the person
any ephemera you have that connects you to that person or event (i.e. maps, ticket stubs, etc)
any item that has meaning to you that you want to include
any alphabet letters, beads, etc from your creative stash (remember those baby bracelet letter beads?)
Perhaps, a letter or note from them or you to them
ribbon or trim
Possible containers:
empty matchboxes ( I have may two of these)
 cereal box
small shoe box or shoebox lid
altoid or other candy/gum tin (I'll have some of these)
part of an egg carton ( I'll bring one)

There will be plenty of supplies on hand- so come with an idea or desire only and everything else will be there for you to create something.
Just come!

PS-I love serendipity, on my walk I found a shrine! How crazy is that? Marilyn Monroe on an old tin top. It was in the first alley I turned down.

Some online resources are:

Mirkwood Designs -for templates- I'll bring some of these
Another matchbook site -matchbook shrines- a personal favorite

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