Epiphany +4A

advent-3a-matthew-11-fabricBecause I begin my art process by reading the weekly Scripture, I like to include text in my final pieces. But I hate the look of words cut from random pages and pasted into the artwork that is a hallmark of mixed media work. Even worse for me is the look of stamped letters. Probably because I spent several years as a page designer. So, how do I include text in my artwork?

First, because I am see all of the pieces as part of a series I want to unify them with the text. As a page designer, we followed a rule of no more than two fonts or typefaces on a page. I selected Avenir as my sans serif (without feet) and Lucida Handwriting for a simple script. I picked these because they don’t have much decoration so are easy to transfer onto fabric and embroider. They also look good together should I decide to pair them.

Second, use point size and weight to create interest and show what is important. In newspapers we called this “headline hierarchy.” If I have a long phrase I need to use in a small space but want to focus on a couple of words, then I make those words larger and may decide to embroider them.

Third, I use Photoshop to figure out how I’m going to do the type. Often I do this because my quilting templates are in PDF format so it’s easy to cut the supplied template and paste into a separate file where I add the text, flatten and paste back into the original file. If I’m using different text for the same shape in a different position, I begin with the largest amount of text to figure out the size.

Fourth, I use watercolor pencils – Prismacolor and Derwent Inktense. I have a nice light table but when I first started I taped my printed sheets to a window, then taped my fabric over and traced the text and cutting lines. I can then add water to make them more visible and permanent than with a transfer pencil (usually used for embroidery transfers). Also, use a color similar to the floss you’ll be using so if a little of the pencils shows it blends.

Prompts from the Past

One of the fun things about journaling with the Revised Common Lectionary is that you begin to see the common threads of the passages and how they work together. Taken separately, this week’s passages call us to what God requires, ask us to consider our call’s transformative power, and reminds us how those who appear unblessed are actually blessed. But when you read them together, they are a call to respond to your call for the good of others and yourself.

Micah 6:1-8

The last verse of this passage is to social justice Christians what John 3:16 is to evangelical Christians because it sums everything up in one simple sentence: What does the Lord require of us? “… to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” For this passage I’m giving two options:

Inspirational sign – You’ve probably seen plenty with John 3:16 or other passages reminding us what God has done for us. Make your own including Micah 6:8 to remind you of what God wants from us.

Journal – At the top of a sheet write “What does the Lord require of me?”, then divide the paper into 3 sections by drawing a Y. In one section use a marker to write “to do justice,” in another “to love kindness” and in the third, “to walk humbly with my God.” Then switch to a pen and journal on how you do each of these in your life and other ways you could do this more.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

I want to focus on verse 26-28, when Paul tells the Corinthians to consider their call. We may not feel qualified to follow where we are being called. If that feeling makes you learn more to fulfill your call, then it’s good. But if it prevents you from even trying, then it’s not.

Read the verses slowly and quietly. Sit silently for a moment. Then read them again asking yourself where you fit in. And, finally, I leave you with a question from my spiritual companion: “If not you, who?”

Matthew 5:1-12

This passage is often referred to as the beatitudes, which means “blessedness.” Read through them slowly listening to when something sticks out to you. Write down that blessing and what you’ve heard about it. For instance, we often hear “blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” yet the passage is the “poor in spirit.” How does that change how you hear the blessing? Spend time with the blessings that aren’t in common culture and may be new to you. Journal on them while asking how you can transform yourself through your call to become one of the blessed.



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