Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Creating Easter Altarpiece

In the comments to my last post about Easter and the Easter altarpiece I designed, Andrea asked if I could post about how we went about creating it. So, here goes.

The first step is to come up with a design. I was pretty stumped this year (due to the big burnout) until another member of the arts committee prompted me with a word - shekhinah - which basically (and simplistically) means the glory of God. And suddenly I had an image of a cross, radiating light.

I already knew we were going to do paper lace again, so I figured out how to get the design to work on 3 panels of paper, each 3 feet wide by 14 feet tall. I drew it out on 8 1/2"x 11" paper, then copied it onto a transparency.

Our time was limited, so I decided to get the design transferred onto the paper before the committee got together to do the cutting. Using an overhead projector, a wall, tape, and a ladder, I got it transferred. Not an easy task to do by oneself, but not too awful.

The next day the committee set to with x-acto knives and cut out the design in about 2-3 hours. The design was much simpler than last year's, which took about a month of Saturdays to draw and cut out.

The frustrating part came the day we were attaching the tissue paper (I don't have any photos of this). Cutting out the shapes and figuring out what colors should go where was fun, but the adhering part… We had decided to use spray adhesive, thinking it might be easiest, but it proved mostly be aggravating. We used white glue to glue it to the 1x2s that attach it to the bar we "fly" the panels from, and to glue metal washers onto the bottoms of the panels so it would hang well. Started setting up about 9am, and didn't leave until about 3pm, covered in adhesive and in a very foul mood.

After services on Good Friday it was time to install the altarpiece. This is when we found out that a lot of the tissue paper was coming unglued, so the scotch tape came out and we all did our best to reattach them. And the process of hanging was fraught with heart-stopping moments when I thought I heard tearing sounds. (Hanging the canvas altarpieces is so much easier - much more sturdy.) And then once it was up we realized the middle panel was crooked so it had to come down again, and more tissue paper had to be reattached once we got it straight. Anyway, finally, it was installed. And it looked wonderful!


andrea said...

I loved hearing about the problems with adhesion, etc. It's so typical of creating art that's not straightforward to run into these kids of problems that you need to solve -- and you did beautifully. Thanks for this.

rivergardenstudio said...

Your Easter Altarpiece is amazing, how beautiful the sun design is behind the cross! I am also drawn to your abstract art and your colors that you picked for "playing favorites" Beautiful job! Roxanne