I saw my first monstrance (ostensorium) in the early 80’s in an antique shop that featured church artifacts. I purchased it and thus began my intrigue with religious objects.
I began crafting in 2010 when we lived on the central coast of California. I had only just started making wall shrines when I discovered Sandra Evertson and Relics & Artifacts. I was instantly hooked on the line because it was a perfect addition to my new passion.
After sending a picture to Sandra of a standing shrine that I had made earlier this year, I was thrilled when she asked me to create a piece for the Muse Blog. I had to choose the ostensorium as it reminded me of how my appreciation for alter pieces had begun.
I was a bit nervous when I opened the parcel from R&A and wondered where this piece would lead me. When I heard the sad news of the devastating fire blazing through the Notre Dame Cathedral I knew that I would make an homage to the Rose Windows of Notre Dame.
I began by separating the piece into three design areas. First the base, the mid section and then the center piece. I wanted each to have a distinct technique that suggested both the strength and beauty of the windows and the cathedral.
I decided on the techniques and then created a plan of execution. I still wing it as I go along but I have found that spending time at the beginning to chart the design steps can avoid some major “ ooops” along the way.
Everything gets a coat of heavy black gesso.
I applied the adhesive and then the gold, copper and some silver leaf to the sunbursts and the mid section.
Next was to solder the base and seal the edges with embossing powder. I remembered to make sure that the treatment did not prevent the base from slotting together. I wanted it to look ornate and heavy. The Debby Anderson stamping technique along with a patina treatment did just that.
I wanted the mid section to appear like marble. After several failed attempts it was time to think of something else. As the piece was all about “ fire” I liked the idea of creating a fire opal treatment. A combination of glitter, ink, gold leaf and secret sauce along with resin did the trick. The result was a blazing burst of colour that looked like hot coals. I hoped this would support what I had planned for the center piece.
The first thing I did was hold my breath and cut the smaller sunburst in half. Why? Because I wanted the large opening to represent the Rose Window. It needed to be as open as possible to allow for back light to come through.
I lost track of the number of layers of paint , glitter, ink and other smudgy substances I used. You know the drill, you just keep going until it speaks to you.
What to do with the openings? These were the windows so closing them in was not the way to go. Time to dig into the stash of brass filigree findings. Hallelujah, there were four different pieces of the right size. So far so good.
In the words of Andrea Matus De Meng it was time to start auditioning the central bits and pieces.
Step 10 Time to start the assemble and continue my love/ hate relationship with E6000 glue. I did not want to take any chances adhering the heavier pieces so I went with the messy big boy.
I am very impatient when it comes to drying time so I can only glue right before I must start preparing dinner. Then I must walk away and let it set.
Step 11 None of the above techniques were to be hurried and that gave me reflection time. I visited Notre Dame in the mid 70’s I vividly remember sitting in the chapel gazing at the stone work and of course the stain glass. True beauty is timeless and can never be lost as long as there are those who carry an emotional memory of the place or person. I allowed my memories to guide the final steps of the beautification of this piece.
Step 12 Everything was assembled except for the important piece for the center window. I thought I had made a decision but it just wasn’t right.
I put that decision aside and got on with what I call cake decorating. These are the touches that put your personal stamp on a piece.
Step 13 I distracted myself with a clean up and there it was! Hiding under a pile of sparkly bits and pieces at the bottom of a stash box I found the adornment that was perfect in colour, size and feel. Oh the joy when I laid it into the central opening. The final addition was a crown on the top. Some last finessing strokes of ink and paint and it was complete.
What a miracle that the Rose Windows were saved and that we will continue to marvel over this magnificent cathedral for decades to come.
Thank you so much Sandra for the chance to create this homage with your always inspiring Relic & Artifacts pieces.
I was born in Toronto Canada and spent the majority of my professional life as a TV and radio performer.
In my thirties, spiritual exploration called my name and thankfully opened my eyes and heart to many different perspectives. Spending time in the Southwest, studying with Tibetan teachers and surrendering to the unknown unleashed the desire to create.
About seven years ago I was living by the sea on the central coast of California. I began collecting, gathering and listening. I remembered the displays I instinctively made as a child. I realized that the collection of pebbles, feathers and animal bone that I arranged were tiny alters to the natural world. All I had to do was be that child again.
I began making a variety of wall shrines using finds from thrift shops, church bizarres along with the shell and bone treasures that I collected from the beach.
I was amazed how the elements connected and guided my hands to tell their mystery tales. My shelves filled with bits and pieces of broken, abandoned and natural tokens. I realized that I had shelves of stories to tell.
I am now living back in Canada in a house in the woods with a cozy loft studio. Many elements in my life have changed but the desire and need to create is the same. In fact, I have only just begun.
Rose Windows Supply List:
Dresden Paper Trim
Gold, Copper and Silver Leaf
Diamond cup chain
Coloured Rhinestones from my stash
Cross pendant from my stash
Glitter Glue Pens
Large flake metal glitter
Black and Red Distress Inks
Platinum and Copper Ink
Acrylic black and metallic paints