Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plymouth Design: Color Trials

Now comes the fun part: playing with color and making dye experiments.

Here they all are in my studio.

Two versions of the same detail

Plymouth Design: Coming Together

Now I felt I had enough real experience, both with the people of Plymouth Church, and with the symbols I had chosen, to make a meaningful design. I used a combination of labyrinth and Celtic knots found on the Internet and from books in the library, and several butterfly field guides, especially Bob Pyle's, and my own experience with butterflies since I was little. I also reflected back to time spent walking the Chartres-style labyrinth in the "baseball field" at Holden Village over the 10 years we lived there and through all the seasons.


Mysterious Beginnings: What to do with a Muse?

Seems that when a muse calls, the muse also opens up a path. I was graciously offered a space in a butterfly field class at North Cascades Institute (ncascades.org), taught by nationally known and respected butterfly scientist and author Robert Michael Pyle. We spent two days hunting butterflies with his trusty net named Martha and his very kind wife. I left the class with real material and much better first-hand knowledge of butterflies to put into the Plymouth design.

Mysterious Beginnings: Plymouth Silk Painting Project

Presently I am working on two large silk paintings to hang in Plymouth Congregational UCC Church, Seattle WA. http://pcucc.squarespace.com/Plymouth has a church community heritage of social justice in Seattle that dates back to the late 1800s, and is the second oldest congregation in Seattle. It is surrounded by skyscrapers full of busy financial offices and important businesses.

The space inside is very tall. In fact the church inside feels more like a cathedral than a typical church building. The architect designed the sanctuary to look like a jewel box, especially at night, when light can shine out of the narrow columns of stained glass windows between the 30 foot panels.

In designing silk paintings for this church I've decided to take a cue from the building itself and mimic the panels between the windows in shape and size. So my silk panels will be 30 feet by 5 feet, and hang in front of the sanctuary on each side of the nave.

I have been working with the congregation over a long period of time, getting to know who they are and where they are going in order to design something meaningful and appropriate for them. What I discovered is that they are in a time of great transition, with intentions of re-igniting their life as a socially active worshiping community that serves the diverse peoples and needs of Seattle.

The design I have chosen to develop for Plymouth uses the symbol of the butterfly to represent metamorphosis, the labyrinth for the journey, and the celtic knot to represent the interrelationship of all. This idea did come mysteriously, as some do. I believe the Spirit, or at least a muse was involved. The images landed on top of my desk as I was cleaning out a file and by the power of their interaction I knew something was afoot in the upstairs department. To the left you can see what the muse left on my desk.

I'll catch you up to where I am now on the project, and keep you posted on my progress.