Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Praying and thumbsucking

So someone asked me to do an illuminated Lord's Prayer for them...

I prayed and thought about it for a long time..

Then I started work.

I'd said the Lord's Prayer nearly everyday between the ages of 4 and 11, parrot-style, along with my classmates, not hearing the words I spoke and not believing the truth contained within. Consequently I have to work very hard at really seeing and hearing what Jesus is praying in these verses.

But it's the first two words that always knock me over. 'Our Father'. This is what I can never get over. That the God of the universe, the Maker of heaven and earth wants me to call Him Father. I will never recover from that.

But not only that! As my niece Grace would say 'There is more!' Jesus tells me I must become like a little child. Jesus said this is how you should pray, 'Our Father...' It's no coincidence that people who're especially close to God (think Heidi Baker) have a childlikeness about them. It's Heidi who says, 'it took me a long time to get this simple', I think.

So I chose Linus to illustrate our simple, trusting, childlike praying. And when I wavered God showed me that his name, Linus, sounds a bit like 'lion in us', which is a clue I think, to the truth that, in a Chrisian, greatness comes from humility.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

a Midrash

So Simon asked for a painting about the scapegoat in Leviticus..

I prayed about it..

and it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and me to write a midrash..

I painted an illumination for it and made a box out of two oak frames and covered it with goat skin leather. The midrash is printed on paper used for documents that need to last hundreds of years. It's called goatskin parchment.

I'm not sure it was what he was expecting. In fact I know it wasn't what he was expecting. But it's what he got. Be careful of giving me commissions...

Monday, 24 May 2010

Artweeks 2010!

I have just had my annual exhibition during the Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival. I exhibited with Alison this year and sharing the space worked out brilliantly. I had my sculptures along the back wall and Alison's stuff was dotted about everywhere!

These are my squashy worlds. I have typed up my writing about each one cos I like the way Jesus let His desciples in on what His stories were all about. I don't think we should always live in mystery.

1. Lost [below]

Recycled materials, stuffing, yarn, plastic games counters, second-hand banana stand, illusion cord

January 2010


Perhaps I was watching too many episodes of 'Lost', the popular Channel 4 show... Or perhaps I was just mystified by how lost we can still be even after we have been found by God. The idea of being saved as a daily occurance and not just a one off event takes some getting used to. But taking those first few steps towards God instead of hiding was the best move I ever made. When I was estranged from God and my life was a mess I was very alone, but once I believed that Jesus was my way back to God, I became part of a family, with God as our Father. I am not alone anymore, but I am still lost in many areas of my life. I am so thankful that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.

2. Surrender [below]
Recycled materials, leather, wire, stuffing, second-hand wooden statue
February 2010

When we are trying to live by the Truth we often bump up against uncomfortable situations where the Truth we profess to believe does not appear to be evident. Our faith is tested and we can react in many ways. We may make excuses for God, not realising it's something He never needs us to do, or we may brush the whole problem under the rug, something which never makes it go away. I am learning to trust in God's goodenss even when I don't understand. I am learning to surrender.

3. The Door [below]
Recycled materials, stuffing, felt, wire, beads, cotton trim, second-hand wooden statue
March 2010

My response to Holmon Hunt's painting, 'Light of the Word'. In his painting, the door at which Jesus is knocking is the door of the human heart with no handle on the outside, only on the inside, signifying Jesus can only come into a person's heart if they open up and let Him in. This symbolic painting has been used again and again in my hearing and I just wanted to humbly add my own message. There are times, when I listen to people still struggling out of their hiding places, that I wonder not whether they will open the door, but where is the door? And how will Jesus negotiate the many seemingly impregnable fences they erect around their hearts. Thankfully, He has already anticipated this when He said in John 10 "I tell you the truth, I am the gate."

4. Holy Trinity and us [below]
Recycled materials, stuffing, felt, wire, yarn, second-hand Playmobil and Duplo
April 2010

I sometimes forget what my destiny is in this life. I will go after other stuff which I think is good and will help others and may make me a better Christian. Then I remember. My destiny is to become more like Jesus. I like to keep things simple. I know when I'm getting unhappy and anxious it's because I've forgotten the simple stuff and made things too complicated. Or else I'm trying to get more like Jesus without the Holy Spirit, which just makes me tired and cross. So this is it, folks: our mission. It may look like a bunch of plants and a steaming pile of horse poo to you, but that's the beauty of parables. I love the way Jesus presented Truth wrapped in a story. Because Truth does not always look like facts and figures. Truth can be poetry and pictures as well. So if we are the seedlings and Jesus is the cauliflower, the Holy Spirit is the manure we need to become cauliflowers. And God? God is the gardener of course!

5. Spiritual Warfare [below]
Recycled materials, stuffing, yarns, beads, borrowed cup and saucer
May 2010
£45 (cup and saucer not for sale)

Life is a battle. Following Jesus doesn't mean your life is easy. But it means you've got Someone fighting for you and with you all the time. Emmanuel, God with us, is always right next to us to help us with the battles we are facing. And we can be certain that Jesus is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be hed over everything. Really, when you look at it like that, the doughnut hasn't got a chance.

As you can see, Timothy Brown thought the show a great success!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

I am having trouble with my cabbages...

These are my attempts at knitting cabbages. The cauliflower looks good, I think, and thanks to Jules for suggesting I use different colour strands twisted together, and Jo for suggesting I knit separate leaves for the cabbages, but I'm still not happy with my cabbages. Perseverance is what is needed :-(

My latest squashy world

This is my response to the William Holman Hunt painting titled 'Light of the world'. This painting is often used in speaches about responding to Jesus' knocking on the door of our hearts. There's no door handle - it's on the inside - because we're supposed to let Him in and He ain't gonna force His way in.

This is my squashy world (my third to date) in response to that painting, with the working title of 'When does there get to be a door?'. Because in my experience, the lack of a doorhandle is not a problem when the real question is where is the bloody door? Not only is that the problem, but there is a fence all the way round with no gate. My little brother's suggested Jesus could climb through the window, but I'm not sure how He'd negotiate the fence.. Your comments would be much appreciated!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Dan's Hitch Monking cuff

My brother is into hitchhiking and letting God blow him where He wills. So he's called it 'hitch monking'. He wanted me to design and make him a cuff that would identify him to other like-minded people and this is what I came up with. It's made from recycled and fairtrade materials. The leather is an old Whippet collar I picked up for 50p, the black fabric is recycled fairtrade cotton (from a pair of hemmed yogapants of mine), and the calico is fairtrade. The elastic I had to buy although I guess if I'd looked around long enough I could have found some on some old clothes I could have recycled. I scanned a used stamp into the computer and printed it out on to iron-on transer paper, then tranferred it onto the calico and embroidered the postmark by hand. It's comfortable to wear and he loves it! I like it too!