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Month: February 2019

Crafting a Valentine

Crafting a Valentine

A Stand-up Valentine

In February, for most of the last 23 years, I have made a valentine for my friend Robert. He is an appreciator of art, and I can say exactly what I want to say when I make it myself.

Last year was an exception. I was at Walgreen’s looking for birthday cards for two of my granddaughters, when I happened to find a beautiful valentine card that said what I was thinking, in a much better way than I could have said it.

This year, I didn’t know what I wanted to say, but the valentine started to evolve anyway. In January, the leader of my local art group asked us to bring some 4” x 4” square pieces decorated with hearts of some kind, to be mounted into one large piece.

Two of squares with hearts cut from decorated paper

I made my four squares on watercolor paper by cutting heart shapes out of scraps of printed papers.  The tiny hearts are sequins. However, the morning of the meeting to assemble the large display, I was too exhausted from yard work the day before and went back to bed. I took them to the next meeting, but she didn’t need them.

Last Thursday, the group was using spray paint and stencils on some paper hearts. I brought the squares and spray painted the back sides, hoping to come up with an idea of how to make these into a valentine for this year.

Fortunately, we have had a lot of rain days, so I had time to come up with a way to connect the squares together. Since both sides were decorated, I couldn’t just apply hinges like I would have if I had actually planned the project from the beginning.

I laid out the four squares so that the cut hearts alternated with the spray painted sides. I have a roll of white Tutu fabric from an estate sale, from which I cut three strips about 1¼” inch wide.

Hinge connecting two squares before Tutu fabric is trimmed

I glued half of a strip to the left side of the spray painted square with matt medium. I glued the second strip onto the right side of that same square. The third strip was pasted on the left side of another spray painted square. I had to let this dry, and then turn it all over in the correct order, so I could work on the other side.

I pulled the unpasted sides of the fabric between the squares and glued them to the spray painted edges on this side. I let them dry, with some weight, over night. In the morning, I trimmed off the excess fabric. This makes an almost invisible hinge that can be bent either way.

Spray painted squares with words

Then, I had to come up with some words, which I typed and printed from the computer. After cutting around each phrase as close to the letters as possible, I used “Yes” paste to secure them to the spray painted squares.

To soften the white printer paper, I used a pale peach color watercolor pencil to lightly tone the paper, and blended it with a damp paint brush.

This has been one of the simpler valentines I have made for my man. It stands up easily as a table decoration. The hardest part was deciding what to say.

The back side

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day

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The Woe of the Prophet Isaiah

The Woe of the Prophet Isaiah

Unlike my sons and many other people, I never got in the habit of playing music all day. Instead, I have a habit of running the radio while I do routine household chores. Last Friday, radio news reports were playing clips about new state laws regarding abortion, when into my mind popped a memory of a tapestry I had woven in 1981, about this time of year.

I had begun weaving pictorial tapestries based on verses of scripture in the summer of 1980. This idea grew out of a number of years of reading through the Bible in a year. I actually enjoyed the Old Testament more than the New Testament. I underlined verses that I liked, but I didn’t mark up page after page.

Isaiah 5:20 is one of two verses I underlined in the first ten chapters of Isaiah.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil     

            Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;

            Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

                                                  (New American Standard 1975)

 

Tapestry based on Isaiah 5:20

My weaving shows lemon juice being squeezed into a pot labeled ‘Honey’, a light bulb that is black giving off blue light, and a fetus in the womb being attacked with a dagger. The word ‘Woe’ appears twice in the tapestry. The prophet Isaiah begins his thoughts with ‘Woe’ six times in chapter five.

While Roe v. Wade had been the law since 1973, the debate in 1980s, as I remember it, centered around the question of when did the “tissue” become human. Now, forty some years later, our country is still making changes in the way we interpret and apply this law. Personally, I believe abortion is wrong, but I do not think it should be illegal.

I think Isaiah’s words could be applied to many things in our present day. And, like in his day, our leaders pay no attention to prophets or history.

I’m not reading the Bible through each year any more, but regardless of our political affiliation or none, as citizens, we need to call out our leaders when they allow evil to be called good, and when they prefer secrecy and darkness to openness and light.

 

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