Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mmm... pie!

One of my amazing supporting churches, Westminster PCA, took me on as fund raiser during Vacation Bible School. The VBS theme was the beach, so my being in Australia didn't hurt. Also, having a sister on the VBS committee who volunteered to coordinate the missions minute didn't hurt either.

Part on the internship I am doing includes going to another field for 2-4 weeks to embody the skills I'm learning here. Right now it is looking like I will probably be going to Japan in early 2012. However, there is so concern over the expense of this trip. All of the daily offerings brought to VBS by the kids, teachers, parents, and staff are being donated to MTW to help me get to Japan.

One morning I was able to be Skyped into their assembly. Several different kids asked questions. I was so impressed by the quality of questions they had. The kids wanted to know when I would be going to Japan, how long I'd be there and had lots of questions about an artwork that I'm working on for Japan (more to come on that soon!). One sweet little girl walked up to the computer held out her hand and said "I have some money for you." Melted my heart! It is always an encouragement to see such little ones being kingdom oriented and missions minded.

The fund raiser was set up as a compitition between the classes to see who could raise the most money. The class with the highest total at the end of the week got to throw a pie at the associate pastor along with a VBS t-shirt and bragging rights.

I am so blessed to have been a part of this years VBS! I have to say a huge thank you to my sister who put all of this together. Also, to the teachers and coordinators at VBS who got their classes so involved in supporting me. To the amazing kids at VBS, thank you, and I couldn't be doing this without you! Thank you to Westminster for being faithful partners with me in prayer and finance. A big thanks to Pastor Jon for being such a good sport! And of course, to Michale for getting the pie action on video.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FUZE Week 3

In the two short weeks I’d been in Fremantle so far there have already been patterns emerging in my schedule, routine, and people I interact with. Patterns naturally was B’s and my word for the week.

The most frequently asked question I get is “what does your schedule look like?” Being in the business of people it’s hard to have a schedule because you can never know when you’ll get called in. Likewise with creativity. There are however marked events on my calendar that reoccur regularly that establish a schedule of sorts… Sunday night there is churchfreo.
A few days during the week I spend the day at churchfreo doing studio work. Tuesday is Bible Study. Thursday I spend the evening with Steve and B, just catching up on each other’s week. Friday B and I go over all of our stuff for FUZE, evaluate the past week and prepare for the next. At this point we’re still allowing things to flow organically around these emerging patterns.

I find it interesting to talk about pattern in this way. For several years now my creative practice has included visual pattern. Now I’m looking at my practice and art-making as the pattern. When I have used patterns it has been to reference tradition, history, and home. Now I’m looking at pattern as faith, art practice, and life style. Pattern is becoming something that you embody and live out.

In the past pattern and ritual have been very important concepts to my work. They are now also becoming important to my life. I wonder how the patterns of my daily life will continue to change in this year. How pattern and ritual will change in my work as learn to embody and live them.

FUZE Week 5

When Berenice and I made “Making” our theme for the week I expected it spend a lot of time making art. Easter is coming quickly and I needed to get busy making work for the installation. There was a lot of that, but it became clear to me that most of my making was going to be in relationships.

Because using the churchfreo building for my studio wasn’t going to work out I started looking for other places I could work. The house I was staying in quickly came to mind. Although it was a convenient space, I started getting restless there. So, I found ways to take my work with me to places in Freo. I found myself in coffee shops mostly which has also proved to be a good relationship making site. There were several occasions where a friend or two would join me for coffee as I made.

It’s difficult to know how much detail to go into here, but there was a lot of making up, making steps towards, and making nice that happened this week. After the events of structures week all of these kinds of making were very necessary, for others and me. A making amends, if you will.

The work that I was making in these cafes was for the Easter installation at churchfreo. I spent the week writing “paid in full” on the front and back of 490 price tags. 490 is the sum of 7 times 70, the number of forgiveness (Mat. 18:22). It was an amazing reminder why making up is important and what it cost to make this sinner right before God.

From the Studio

In process work exploring uses for and metaphors behind tea in my practice.

Sharing cups of tea is a key way I have been getting to know people here. Each of these little tags has come to represent a shared moment and relationship building.

A map of stains

What part of relationships do we keep? The useful part that gives actual product?

Can the part normally disregarded redeemed? Can the throw away bits be beautiful?

FUZE Week 16

There is no Aunt Jemima Syrup in Australia. My friend Allie, who is also from the US, and I made pancakes on Saturday morning. Rather than our beloved Aunt Jemima we topped our pancakes with Golden Syrup, which is kind of like a cross between American syrup and honey. On the front of the syrup tin, right under the brand name is the image of a dead lion with a swarm of bee’s hovering over it. In small type under this lovely image is the phrase “out of the strong comes sweetness.” Those of you who are better Bible scholars than I will know the reference here and why it makes since on a tine of some honey like stuff. However, Allie and I were thoroughly grossed out and couldn’t figure out why on earth this would be on a syrup tin.
Later in the week I was listening to a sermon postcast. The text was from Judges 14, telling the story of Samson. Imagine a light bulb going on over my head right now! Sampson was marked as a Nazarite. That marking came with certain requirements that any Nazarite had to keep… No fruit of the vine, including grapes, wine, vinegar and raisins. No death, Nazerites could not touch or be close to corpses or graves. No razors/hair cuts (No, Samson’s hair was not long because it made him cool, it was out of obedience to God). Samson’s marking as a Nazarite was evident in his appearance.

But in Judges 14 Samson kills a lion, by strength given to him by God. Then, “Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.” (vs. 8-9). Samson broke his Nazarite vow. He broke the vow again in Judges when Delilah cuts his hair.

Like Samson, I often fail at looking and acting differently, according the calling I’ve been given. Again, like with Samson, God used me anyway.

The theme fro this week was marks. This week I took a weeklong drawing intensive at Curtin University (drawing is often referred to as mark making within the arts community).
I asked those of you on my email list (if you’re not on this list and would like to be, let me know!) now that it was my desire that God would mark me as different, that grace would shine through me in such a way that I could might be able to make marks on others. I often struggle with being am introvert. I really do want to meet new people and make friends, but fear of rejection combines with extreme contentment in being alone often keeps me from doing this. On the bus going into campus Monday morning I prayed the whole way that God would either make me braver than normal or do the work for me. I admit it was a little “wet ground, dry fleece” of me. By the time we broke for lunch on the second day (a day focused on mark making rather than representational drawing)
all of the 17 other students had made a point of coming to me. Many of them commented on my accent first thing, asking me where I was from and how I had come to Perth. God had done the work for me. Not only that, He gave me an opening to talk about the internship and my work, neither of which I can do without speaking about grace.

In the days (and now weeks) following the intensive I have had the opportunity keep in touch with some of my classmates. Pray that as I continue to pursue these relationships I might look and act as one marked my the Spirit.