Friday, February 27, 2009

Why I Make the Altars.

Story by HeartSpace

As a teenager I lived in Spain and visited the cathedrals and churches. It was there that my love of religious iconography was born. I especially loved the niches that held beautiful images of Mary, as a maiden and as a grieving mother.

At Easter time in Seville I stood transfixed as a beautiful Madonna was carried down the street as the culmination of a Good Friday parade. To signify tears, someone had applied pearls to her cheeks, the bodice of her blue gown and her skirts. To add to the splendor, through the rod iron bars of a monastery window, a young woman about to become a nun sang Mary's ancient song of mourning. What a spectacle!

Custom Alter Example

All too Baroque, maybe -- Gothic, certainly, but all the same the scene of the figures in purple robes and hoods carrying their Madonna and the unearthly soprano of the young nun are etched in my memory. I can remember that I felt as if I had risen from the ground, it was all so stunning. From then on, I began to study religious imagery in earnest. But I never dreamed I would every become an iconographer of sorts.

It wasn't till a recent trip to New Mexico that I began to wonder if I might make such images of my own. I am not an artist with a capital "A"but I love to make art. I would never presume to think I could capture anything living up to the spectacles in Seville. But the rough innocence of the Spanish Colonial religious icons there helped me see that one did not need to be a Murillo, Velasquez or Dali to create heartfelt pieces celebrating the HOLY. I came home with an itch to make some santos of my own.

Custom Altars Kwan Yin

My first piece was a flash of inspiration after breaking a lovely Ukrainian Easter Egg that a dear friend had brought me after a journey to Eastern Europe. I had only had it a few hours and as I made my way to put it away, dropped it and smashed it. There seemed to be nothing to do but to throw it away. I couldn't bring myself to do this, though. I was very angry at myself and thought about how so many things (tangible and intangible) I had lost in life through foolish, clumsy mistakes.

No longer able to live with the self scolding, I said a prayer of asking: how can I redeem this poor little egg? I thought, "If only there were an Angel of Broken Things." Then I decided to create this angel with the pieces of broken egg. I will post a photo of this first altar, not because it's particularly good, but because it was such fun to have transformed a broken bit of disappointment into art.

Custom Mini Altar Angel

That is why I make the altars, to create sacred space and transform objects into stories that mean far more than the images look at first glance. Not great art, not masterpieces, but heartfelt and healing. What is broken in your life? Ask the Angel of Broken Things to inspire you to transform and heal.

Muchas gracias HeartSpace for sharing this gorgeous story about your altars.
To see more of her work just click here


Cindy said...

Wow what a great story! I love to hear how people are inspired to be creative. Keep up the beautiful work HeartSpace!

PancerBali said...

It’s so nice site. We love to see more on this site. Keep on updating… MonkAreYou Bali *hjknm,

Claire said...

Thank you so much, Lolos for posting the story of my art on the Spanglish Blog. I love our team. Hurray for all the Spanglish artists and craftspeople on Etsy.

Que vayan bien,

no somos nada said...

absolutely wonderful! loved the story! and i especially adore HeartSpace!

Patti said...

wonderful post! i love HeartSpace!

AG mode said...

You are truly an artist with capital "A"

Botanical Bird said...

Truly a beautiful story Claire, I love the idea of creating the broken angel altar from the shattered Ukrainian egg, so powerful and transforming! I love to make tile and glass mosaics for this reason, so that I can see the transformation of broken pieces becoming whole again. Thank you for sharing this enlightening story!


lolo said...

You are welcome mi querida Clarita.. Your story is beautiful.. Keep working! Go Spanglish Team! :-)

BululuStudio said...

Nice story!

Viva Spanglish team

J-Mi said...

I was able to see those Easter parades during my semester in Sevilla, and I remember perfectly what you're talking about! Your work is beautiful!

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