As we begin Advent this year, we look to Mary as helping us to find our way. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated in the Church year on December 12 each year. Today millions of pilgrims visit her shrine in Mexico each year.
I appreciate the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and all who place their trust in her. I very often am drawn to create her image. This is a recent depiction that I did of her.
Mother of the Americas
This is a new piece that I recently completed. Just as Jacob struggled, I too had a hard time portraying what it was that I thought this biblical passage meant. I had always thought of the text speaking about two different characters, Jacob and the Angel.
When working on this piece, I began to consider the thought that Jacob actually was wrestling with himself when he was wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. The Angel is his soul and Jacob emerges with a newly created identity, he is now called Israel. Jacob is held captive inside until new life surges in him. Jacob now is complete and free to be who he was mean to be.
Jacob's Struggle With the Angel, 33″ h X 25″ w X 2″ d
These last days I have been busy creating new Stain Glass Angels in my studio. We are getting ready up at Good Counsel for our annual Craft Fair which is always held on the second Saturday in October. This year it lands on October 14, 2017 and runs from 8:30 to 2:00. As usual my studio will be open to visitors that day.
I just thought that today I would show the angels that I am making in various stages along the way, as it is an interesting process I think. First you create a design and then select the color and the glass you would like, then trace the shape on it and cut it out with a glass cutter. After that you grind around the edges of the glass and select the right copper foil for each section of glass. If it is a clear glass you want to use a black backed foil otherwise copper backed is fine to use. When the pieces are all foiled you place them in the position that you want to solder them in and go ahead and heat up your solder iron and apply the solder. To make the solder run smooth you apply flux. When the piece is all soldered you use a special solution to remove the flux from the piece and you can then put on a patina to change the color of the solder from silver. The finally rub is a wax to hold the color of the patina and brighten it up. After applying a string you can hang them in your window and enjoy their protection during your days.
Making Stain Glass Angels
Sometimes when a person looks out the window we are lucky enough to look through glass colors or at colors of glass that bring a sense of beauty into our lives. We can get caught up in viewing the soldered pieces as we enjoy the harmony of the colors playing off of each other. It can be an abstract piece that contains many types of glass, some even recycled from another life once held within another piece of stain glass. This particular piece does have some repurposed glass in it, the two light blue color pieces with squiggles in it. It also contains three pieces of a type of glass that is called Job Glass, which has rods of glass fused together to create a plaid look. It also contains is a piece of beveled glass at the center of the piece. Glass can accent colors within a room and also be a focal point within itself. It can lift our spirits and brighten our day and give us a whole new way of looking at things.
Blue Stain Glass Piece, 8″ h x 10″ w
The Eucharist is expresses in the grapes turned into blood and the bread turned into body. Our consumption leads to the fulfillment of the prophets. As we become Christ's body we are healed by grace.
This piece was an experiment for me in working with a sheet of copper. I soldered the symbols of wine and grapes flowing into the bread in a basket representing a Eucharistic theme. I put face features on the elements to show our oneness with the images and how we become what we consume. The frame work of leaves and sticks is to represent the new life that is drawn forth. I knitted the wire as a mesh holding it all together.
Unity, 51″ h x 18″ w x 1″ d
As the apostles gather for the Spirits presence in their midst, the color of fire enters into their beings. The strength of the breath of the feather hovers over their destiny. New things will be accomplished with Spirit's presence. When we choose to listen, the Spirit is always speaking to us.
Sacred Fire, 19″ h X 23″ w X 1″ d
On May 9th we celebrate the death anniversary of our foundress Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger. She was a Wonder Woman in the best sense of the word. She believed the need for love, security and food were as important as education. She was born in 1797 in Bavaria and died in 1879.
The piece of wood that I used to carve her is a very special kind of wood called Red Honduras Mahogany. It was a gift from a man who had found it on a ship when he was in the Navy and had kept it for many years. One day he came to my studio and shared it with me. I kept it for a very special carving. It is a long and slender piece on which I portray Blessed Theresa holding her heart. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “The heart forms itself according to what it loves.” She trusted and dared.
Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, 49″ h X 6.5 w X 1.5 d
This is a new piece that I just finished recently. I was happy with how it turned out. I loved the use of tile with the wood.
We connect with others to find some common place where we feel love. Together we flow in and through Mercy that has been gifted to each of us. We unite within its healing effects and enlarge our hearts to include all. We enter into the oasis which presents a peaceful calm to us, so we can reflect this back, in the midst of life's challenges.
Oasis of Mercy, 25″ h x 20″ w x 1″ d
I recently finished a new piece to depict the Annunciation. As we know the Church celebrate this feast day on March 25 each year. The story is told in Luke 1: 26-38.
The mandorla which is the shape found around the Virgin encloses the entire body of a person of special dignity. Mary leads us beyond darkness. The Virgin gives birth to the Son of Light. The three lily plants depicts her virginity. The number three resonates with the energies of optimism, joy and inspiration. Three is a universal number and contains a beginning, a middle and an end. The Angel Gabriel speaks the famous Ave Maria proclamation with protective wings as the Spirit breaths New Life into being.
The Annunciation of the Lord, 33″ h X 21″ w X 1″ d
Growing up in a family where our mother loved flowers, I was blessed to learn and love many different types of flowers. I always loved when the bleeding hearts, iris, lilies of the valley and bridal wreath were part of one of the many beautiful bouquets that she would create.
I imagine because we just celebrated Valentine's Day that I got thinking about those heart-shaped flowers typically pink or red. So the other day I went looking for a photo of the small carving that I did once of some bleeding hearts.
To me these flowers are a great reminder, these days especially, to be sympathetic toward those individuals or groups of people who are underprivileged or exploited. Like Jesus we are called to open our hearts to all.
Bleeding Hearts, 10″ h x 8″ w x 1″ d
This is one of the new pieces that I have finished in the last couple of months. I have been making some larger pieces since my “Twinkling Wood Chips” show in November. The pieces are on Gospel images.
Longing for Spirit draws us out of our isolation, where we sometimes think that nothing can change. Longing for Spirit shatters our routines and impels us to make the changes we want and we need. Longing for Spirit has its roots in the past yet does not remain there: it reaches out to the future. Come Holy Spirit enkindle the hearts of your faithful. We go forward to the peripheries, to the frontiers to encounter the Spirit.
Spirit Encompass Us, 33″ h X 15″ w X 1″ d
Somehow a shaft of light breaks through and shatters the darkness in our lives. The wise ones choose to follow the star. We must always remember that our light works best in darkness.
Epiphany, 35″ h X 23″ w X 1″ d
The inner design on the star portrays that Christ's Birth is repeated again and again in history. Within the context of urban, rural, small and large gatherings, the birth of Christ is happening all around us if we are but aware and accentuate the light instead of darkness.
May our Christmas this year hold new signs of this light entering our life to help bring our world out of darkness. Know that during this beautiful season you are all in my thoughts and prayers as Christ's Light continues to radiates through us.
Out of Darkness, 34″h X 30″w X 1″d
This Advent piece reflects on the Sunday readings in the year 2016.
1st Week…The Mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established as the highest of the mountains. All nations shall stream to it.
2nd Week…A shoot shall come forth from the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
3rd Week…John the Baptist pointing the way in the wilderness.
4th Week…The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The child conceived is from the Holy Spirit.
God With Us…Advent Piece, 63″h x 22″w x 1″d
You are welcome to attend an art showing and sale of Woodcarvings and Jewelry on November 19, 2016 in my studio from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. This will be the eleventh year of this showing and as in the past years we will have hot apple cider and homemade chocolate chip cookies for you to enjoy as you walk around and experience the art. Hope to see that day and possible you can get some Christmas shopping accomplished. Thank you for your support this year and in past years.
This coming Saturday, October 8, 2016 we at Good Counsel are having our annual SSND Craft Fair. It is held on our campus in Mankato MN. It runs from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm. It includes many fun things like homemade soaps, plants, rosemalling, breads, jams, salsa and soups plus many wonderful crafts that our sisters do. There is even a very popular garage sale. The ceramic shop will be open along with my woodcarving studio.
I invite you to stop by and see some of the new pieces that I have created this past year. I am quite certain you will enjoy the day. There is even an opportunity to get lunch and a fresh piece of apple pie from the apples in our orchard.
Also just a heads up about the date for my Annual “Twinkling Woodchip Show that I hold in my studio each year. It is always on the Saturday before Thanksgiving which happens to be Nov. 19 this year from10:00 to 4:00. This year I am especially happy to have my niece, Emily Thelemann join me in my studio with her wonderful jewelry creations from wood, metal and leather. Emily is a jeweler in the cities area and also does custom work for people. You can check out her work on her Facebook page which is Shimmering Carbon.
Small Flower Piece
By doing right, justice will flow. The seeds of justice flourish and grow in all of nature and present a model to follow. We begin with acts of integrity.
Justice Will Flourish, 20″ h X 19″ w X 2″d
Last week I began work on a new Advent piece. I was in hopes that it would help me feel a bit cooler with all the heat and humidity we have been having. Ha ha I wanted to put something from the four gospel readings during the Sunday's of Advent in the carving. So far I am pleased with how it is going. I will keep you updated as it progresses.
New Advent Piece, 63″ h X 22″ w 1″ d
Old Testament and New Testament characters dominate this piece with the root of Jesse rising up bringing forth the Savior’s birth. We are led up the mountain of the Lord with our Ancestors who also ascended the mountain of faith to give glory to God. These signs of Community are central to how and where God’s revealing takes place.
The different symbols identify those with whom we have become familiar in our story. The gifts of our ancestors renew our calling to make God the center of our lives.
Cloud by Day, Fire by Night, 26″ h X 32″ w X 1″ d, Linden Wood, Glass, Wire, Brass
This carving shows the beauty and strength of a simple pine cone. In the summer months as we go for walks in wooded areas we either view the cones hanging from evergreen trees or lying on the ground. In this piece I show a small portion of a tree that caught my attention during one of these walks. The detail found in the cones is what captured my attention. Their hardness clinging to the softness of the evergreen, offers a stunning contrast. Both survive and actually thrive by presenting what they were created to be.
Pine Cone Glory, 16″ h X 12″ w X 1″ d