Images in Cloth 5

The pattern is ready, all pieces are numbered and defined.

As I worked on this step of the project, I reflected on the meaning of various parts of the image, particularly the horse.  I thought about how to depict him.  He is a symbol of grace.  How will we show that in fabric pieces?  How is grace shown in visual images? My first mental picture is, embarassingly enough, pretty trite and childish.  I imagined grace as something being received by a cartoon figure, a girlish figure standing respectfully still, with sparkly magic dust being applied from above.  Bright starry little lights swirl around, and voila! the person has received grace.  Without any preceding information nor follow-up, this is a limited image for sure.  Looking at this St. George icon brings up a more (I hope) complex image, but still always incomplete of course.  Horses:  Warm, powerful, alive, individual.  Riding on horses: A willing response to a request for action, carried out with a surge of speed and strength.  A positive carrying forward to the next step, the next place.  The motion is free-flowing, strong, sure, responsive, unstoppable, freely given, living and active.  I can see many metaphors and analogies to grace here. 

The challenge will be to bring these concepts to the art project using the media of cloth, in a way that will “read” clearly to the viewer as well as being beautiful.          The bold shape is there, the color has been determined.  The proportion of this shape to other objects is delineated, and it is a dominant element in this composition.  But the cloth itself: Should it “sparkle”?  Should the cloth be subdued and supportive, or burst forward visually? Have streamers flowing loosely from a base fabric?  Be simple and forthright–or decorated, multilayered and lavish?  The possibilities are endless, and so are the solutions.  What do you think?  How do you visualize God’s grace?

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About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons since 1995. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
This entry was posted in Catholic icons, Catholicism, fabric art, Iconography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Images in Cloth 5

  1. I think the horse should not be embellished with sparkles or streamers. Your reflections on the symbol of a horse as an image of grace are excellent, and your shape is strong and beautiful. It speaks by itself. Grace IS an added power, something like the difference between laboriously walking and being carried by a powerful, responsive force like a horse. The only catch is, that a horse is under the rider’s control (hopefully!) whereas grace is the one in control of the the soul who has surrendered to it’s power, fortunately for that soul! It is like a magic horse that knows exactly where the rider needs to go and carries him or her there without being told…

  2. reinkat says:

    Yes, thank you for your insights. I like what you said about grace being in control of the soul which surrenders to it. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
    Perhaps the original iconographer of the St. George image did–as the horse floats over the dragon with the lance resting lightly in George’s hand. God’s blessing and grace are the force which overcome the evil, and the saint has surrendered to that power. The serenity of his face also gives this impression: despite the slaying of the tempter there is no anger, fear or violence in his expression, just a calm trust in where he is being taken.

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