Bit o’ Honey ~ the little things that please

The little things that please . . .

Tree of Life ~ pt. 1

with 2 comments

The creative process is about as easy to navigate as love.  It’s messy and unpredictable.  Often it touches on the metaphysical, other times it curses you with empty promises.  Always in motion, no matter how you try to direct it, it takes the lead, carrying you to a place largely unexpected.  The creative process is deeply personal and at the same it demands you leave your ego behind.  This is especially true when working collaboratively, which is where I find myself now, sharing the creative process with four other people: an architect, a project manager, an art consultant, and a chaplain.  

The call for stained glass artists came last month. A 4’X3′ glass panel was to be created for the new wing of a local hospital.   There were several important stipulations.  The design should not represent any particular religion but speak to a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious population.  Also, the design should reference Nature.  I would need to include an application, biography and statement, as well as a visual representation of my design.  I had one week to complete it.

I knew what design I would use.  The Tree of Life.  Deeply symbolic without being overtly religious, it stood as an axis mundi, connecting earth and sky and depicting the continuous cycle of life.  I didn’t bother considering other ideas, it seemed right in every way.  I went to work immediately.

Every night for the next week I worked on my hands and knees over a swath of white paper, making various interpretations of the Tree of Life.  With designs this size I prefer to draw on the floor using my whole body so that I not only see the lines clearly, I feel them.  Unfortunately, with so little time I was forced to offer an unrefined design.  This disgruntled me, but no matter how rough the idea I knew a few things for certain. First of all, I would not use blue.  Blue is a fine color, but grossly overused in stained glass.  And blue was the obvious choice used to evoke comfort.  I wanted to step away from the obvious.  In addition, I knew the design had to be kept simple.  No high concept, no pretense, and visually undemanding.  In a hospital, where matters of life and death abound, I wanted an image that could offer a place of rest, a quiet play of color and line to soothe the heart.

That was the goal, anyway.

I finished the preliminary watercolor at 10 o’clock at night.  Deadline for submission was the next morning. 

And so begins the creative process . . .



Written by Janie

June 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm

2 Responses

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  1. When looking at a piece of stained glass I have never thought what process the artist had to follow to arrive at the finished piece. Now I know through your words that a piece has the blood and soul of the artist. Beautiful beginning!


    June 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm

  2. I love your design-it’s so simple and poetic with beautiful use of color and shape. I also love hearing the process you went through to get to it. Thanks for leading me to your blog!


    June 20, 2008 at 2:18 am

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