Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quietly creative

 Lent sometimes has a bad rep. People think it is a time to give something up that you love like coffee or chocolate. A friend invites you out for a mocha and oops- you've blown it two ways.

Actually Lent can be a quietly creative time. You can tell people you're slowing things down for Lent and say "no." You can reclaim your Sabbath and rest. You can quietly reclaim your sense of wonder and let some new ideas flow in. You can find God again.

In this spirit my 4th-6th grade church school class created a Lenten altarpiece. In the style of a triptich, it is made out of light blue foam insulation board. It was cut into three panels at the lumber yard, then cut with an exacto knife into the arched shapes on the tops. It was painted front and back with acrylic paint- green for the landscape and three sponge-painted colors of purple (the color of Lent) for the three skies. 4 matching pieces of 10" x 10" felt were glued with hot glue to the back of the panels (2 from the left to the middle panel, and 2 from the right to the middle panel) to create hinges. I chose scrapbook paper in tones of green, tan and gray and choose a limited color range for each panel. We determined the left panel would be the road to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the middle would be the Crucifixion, and the right the Resurrection.   

The preteens tore and cut the scrapbook paper and created the landscapes, including roads, buildings, hills, crosses and the tomb and attached them with ball-headed straight pins. The paper was then glued on and sealed with ModPodge and the pins removed. This altarpiece is so amazing- it looks like it is made out of stone!

The first Sunday of Lent all the kids started making little figures out of pipe cleaners and clothing them with fabric. After they took Communion, they went to the altarpiece and pinned their figures to the foam panels with the ball-headed pins. Notice the angel in the sky and the shepherd's crook.
By the time we reach Easter, we will have illustrated the story of Holy Week. I can't tell you the deep meaning and the feeling of belonging and involvement this creative project has given to all the kids in the parish. The adults sit and watch in wonder as the scenes are populated with Biblical figures. Next week- animals!

Never underestimate the power of art to help people connect to something greater than themselves and find deep spiritual meaning. Even if you're five years old.....

To see an fresh etsy shop called "madsaintrat" that uses vintage religious imagery in art pieces go here:

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