Final Project for A Dwelling Place for God: Creation, Eschatology, and Ecology; Columbia Theological Seminary, Fall 2014.

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{Canvas, coffee filters, Mod Podge, acrylic paint, dried loose leaf tea, watercolor paint, tape, old book pages. (Used in the process: corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap.)}

The interview below was first posted over at A Sanctified Art. Check ’em out!

Tell me about this piece. Did you work from a specific scripture or theme?

This piece was a final project for a seminary class called “Creation, Eschatology, and Ecology.” We’d talked a lot about differing views of creation, and I was intrigued by the fact that Genesis 1 and John 1 both start with those three iconic words: “In the beginning…” What does it look like for me, as a Christian, to honor Genesis 1’s creation account and it’s Hebrew Bible context, while at the same time envisioning the Gospel of John’s claim that the Word was there at the very beginning? This is my best guess at an answer to that question. You’ve got the wind of God sweeping over the face of the deep, all wrapped up with the Word, which is messily splattering out into the darkness. When I turned this project in for class, I felt a little unsatisfied — like it wasn’t quite finished. But I supposed that’s pretty appropriate for a piece about creation (I have a hunch that God’s not quite done with that either).

What materials did you use? How do you decide on materials when starting a new project? 

The particular materials here include: coffee filters, acrylic and watercolor paints, some pages from an old book, and pencil. It’s all held together with Mod Podge, tape, and my trusty glue stick. I’d like to be able to say that every material I use is super intentional for each specific project, but sometimes it’s as simple as being on a grad school budget and using the random stuff I find in my apartment. I’ve long been drawn to the idea of giving new life to things that seem to only have one purpose, or things that seem like their purpose is over. It’s a puzzle of sorts, to see how I can reuse things. Not all of it ends up stuck on the canvas, either — I used some bubble wrap and interestingly-corrugated cardboard to make the gold paint patterns and the patterns on the “darkness” at the bottom. Once I convinced myself that art doesn’t have to always be fancy paints and art school training (which are both still wonderful!), the proverbial door was wide open.

When did you first begin making art as a spiritual practice? How do you see it as part of your faith? 

I think art has been a spiritual practice for me for longer than I realize. Or maybe I realized it, and am just now coming to call it art. I’ve long considered myself a crafty person but it’s only really been in the past three or four years that I would have thought to consider it spiritual practice. I’ve always been a fidgeter, and a doodler — I’m pretty terrible at sitting still, and praying in the usual eyes-closed-and-hands-clasped posture. So I think making art, even when it’s not based on a particular biblical text, has become a kind of prayer for me.