Vision Shapes Design
I had no idea how to make these angels. So I studied real birds lifting off a nearby lake and sweeping in for landings. Expert photographs of birds in flight showed me the sweeping lines of whole wings as well as feather patterns. Drawing on 10 foot lengths of craft paper, I wore out many pencils exploring the curve of wings until I found just the right lines to capture the angel’s glorious sweep, both powerful and gentle. I kept the squiggled lines close by as I experimented, explored, pushed details, tried lines again and again.
Drawing is two dimensional – flat. How was I to make the wings seem 3-dimensional and alive? Fine detailed work feels like a swarm of mosquitoes to me – I prefer large dramatic expression. Working with three layers of material – top layer of gold metallic lamé, cotton batting in the middle, and white muslin for backing – I experimented with long stitching lines. They in turn created the little puckerings that added their own sculpting and vibrancy to the whole.
I had no idea how to make the angel’s dress. When visiting art treasures in Europe as a child, I was fascinated with cascades of fabric. The Lord implanted in my soul the surge and flow, the light and shadow which the great masters Van Dyke captured with oil paint and Michelangelo expressed in marble. Then twenty-five years later, when trying to work with fabric to express the beauty and energy of the Lord’s lines, I stood frozen, unable to figure out how to make the fabric do what I had seen in the squiggles. I asked the Lord to work through my hands again. He said, “You already know what to do. I taught you in Europe years ago. Now it’s your turn.” To my amazement, as I gathered up handfuls of fabric from off the bolt, my fingers did know – making sweeping cascades, abstract rosettes, surrounded by glintings from scrunched fabric, each casting different qualities of light.
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