Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sacred arts...and crafts?

At some point during last weekend's workshop, I decided to search for my copy of Pope JPII's "Letter to Artists." I wanted to reread what he had to say about this "noble ministry." Passages like this one still resonate:
In producing a work, artists express themselves to the point where their work becomes a unique disclosure of their own being, of what they are and of how they are what they are....For the artist, art offers both a new dimension and an exceptional mode of expression for his or her spiritual growth.
After reading this the first time, I expanded my hifalutin' definition of art to include crafts. For decades I'd made nasty fun of the glue gun-decoupage-scrapbooking needlework-beading-polymer clay-baking crowd. They weren't artists. They certainly weren't creating art. And I knew this because I'd started art lessons with oil painting lessons at age seven and dropped out of a B.F.A. program at age 20.

I repent my snobbery. Mea mongo culpa.

God is quite the kidder. I now have a crafts closet bursting with glass beads and jewelry findings, acrylic paints, colored pencils, paper punches and decorative scissors, glittering sequins, tin milagros, papier-mâché hearts, unfinished wooden crosses and eggs, miniature silk roses. File folders are filled with images of Jesus, the BVM, cats, flowers, lambs, saints. I futz with decoupage. I used to bead rosaries.

I've got a bucket of molding clay destined to become angel wings and a stack of gold melamine servers that look exactly like halos. I have big plans for the two dozen tiny fluffy yellow chicks I found in Michaels three years ago. During Lent, I haul out the paint-by-number copy of "The Last Supper" I found on sale for $9.99. My efforts may not always end up looking great, but my encounters with color, form, image, and texture are always divine.


  1. You need a new project, how about Knotted Rosaries?

    It's inexpensive, portable and easy!

    You can request a free one here.

    I am biased - it's one of my favorite hobbies.

  2. Looks like we may have a winner! Loved working with beads but the cost factor was getting to me. This looks like a great alternative that would still allow me to pray as I knot. Certainly seems less frustrating than palm crosses which I'm guessing is something only cradle Catholics are able to do. Or wax-etched Easter eggs. Thanks, Melissa!


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