Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making Altered Books: ALMOST A NUN on the table!

Cover of original book
New title page

Gathering items for insertion
Gluing text blocks to cut window

My creative verve is soaring this morning as I wait for the next snowstorm to visit us here in Deep River. I am working on an artist's book, in "altered book form" today. This book, aptly titled "Almost A Nun" is one I have been waiting to create for almost two years. I found this book in my grandmother's home when I was small and it has been part of my library for a very long time. I actually have two copies, having found another in Cambridge.

I will be making two text block cut windows in this book. One will hold a gilded frame with an image from The Master of the Mary of Burgundy, book of hours. This image shows Mary of Burgundy praying using her book of hours in her private home, while carrying the image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in her heart during prayer. My work centers on public prayer in private spaces and private prayer in public spaces, and the book of hours is central to this concept. The remainder of the collaged pages will include images of the women in my life who helped influence and guide my faith journey and of prayer.

After my first husband died in 1997, I thought a great deal about what my life would be like after our children graduated from university and went on to their own lives. My deep faith and the spiritual connection I felt to angelic presence in my life lead me to consider a vocation as a Franciscan nun. Obviously, God in her infinite wisdom, had other plans, and I was re-married to an Anglican priest and moved to Canada!!

This artist's book will be a visual conversation with my female ancestors and my angels about prayer, and about the life of spiritual vocation in an ever technologically, media happy world. I hope to present images and ideas that will engage the viewer and challenge them to see the spiritual aspect of day to day living, and how prayer can bring us back to that center each and every day.

I am truly blessed to have the studio space, the materials, and the time to create the works that fill my creative soul. In addition, I have been blessed with the time to refresh and recharge my creative sense through reading, collecting images, and conversations with other artists over these past months. Thank God for all the abundance in my creative life!

There is a prayer from a Durham Manuscript about working in the scriptorium that I would like to share today. It says in part:

"The SCRIPTORIUM is like the renunciation of worldly desires which calls us from the depths of sensuality to the heights of divine love so that we more freely see our model who is in heaven."

As I prepare to return to the table and my work, I feel the scales of modernity falling from my back. My spiritual eye is tuned to the thin nature of the distance between this world and the next, and my heart recognizes how prayer changes me and helps to make me whole. I am conscious of the great cloud of witnesses who have come before us and surround us with their love. It is my hope and prayer that the work I feel called to produce within my grotto studio will help others enter the conversation of faith, hope, love, and prayer.

All will be well, all will be well, and with the grace and glory of God, all will be well.