If you have consciously or serendipitiously arrived here, welcome. I’m Fran, aka Redondowriter, and my interests include family, friends, writing, reading, art, computers, storytelling, spirituality, photography, animals—and exploring the layers of everyday life.
Each year I hand make about 30 Christmas cards though I was late getting around to it this year. The Mary image is one I found on the Internet, but I altered it in collage layers on card stock. This is the letter I sent by snail mail--and now to you on the Internet. Click to enlarge.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe. Southern California has a large Latino population so special masses, processions and celebrations are being held throughout the city. We have a Franciscan parish in Hermosa Beach called Our Lady of Guadalupe and three different masses are being celebrating. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles is another church that is celebrating and actually live streaming. And there is always Olvera Street in downtown L.A. As an older woman, however, I find myself sticking closer to home, especially at night. Maybe I can get someone younger to drive me to Olvera Street's nightly Feast of the Las Posadas.
Not Guadalupe, but I wanted to share this SoulCollage® card, also made several years ago, called "Our Lady of the Planet." Like yesterday's card, her base is from a stack of fabrics in an ad that was in Architectural Digest. Who knows where else I got the other elements?
I am the one who tries to make sense out of body, mind and spirit--and spirituality and environmental concerns, like global warming. Our Lady of the Planet, though she looks somber, gives me hope that though science is having a hard time convincing the majority of human beings that we harming our earth, that higher powers are also working behind the scenes. I am the one who has always been drawn to mysticism (magical thinking?), but the challenge lies in integrating body, mind, spirit--science and religion.
The question I would ask of Our Lady of the Planet is, "As a city dweller, I am doing my small part to reduce my carbon footprint, but what else would you suggest to become more of an activisit within my limitations?"
Thank you, Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon, for hosting our Mornings With Mary in 2012. I hope all of you who participated and visited our blogs, enjoyed yourself and took home some divine feminine in your hearts.
I call this SoulCollage® card "The Black Madonna," and I created it several years ago from images, shapes and colors from a magazine I don't even remember. Several of you have posted Black Madonnas and the stories about them during these past days. The YouTube video posted by one of you (and right now I'm forgetting who--CRS) was one I hadn't seen and greatly appreciated.
My friend Ann Markle, Rector of St. Raphael's Episcopal Church in Crossville, TN, has just returned from one of several trips to Europe where she visits and studies about Black Madonnas. It is her hope, one day, to actually lead spiritual study tours to some of the Black Madonnas she has seen. I just hope she can find time to do that before old age limits my travel plans. I remember that one of you from last year's Virgin a Day was from Crossville and has become an acquaintance of Ann's. Can't remember that name either, darn it!
This Black Madonna particularly fascinates me because it appears as though her gown is made of a variety of fabrics. At a garage sale I went to late in the day several months ago, I have several boxes of decorator samples of fabrics and trims that I haven't figured out yet how to incorporate in my mixed media. What would you suggest?
Some of you in Virgin a Day are also SoulCollage® facilitators, and we are encouraged to write "I am the one who" statements when we have made or drawn a card. Here's a few of mine.
I am the one who first became interested in madonnas at a very young age although I was not raised Catholic. The significance and history of Black Madonnas was sparked by my friend Ann Markle several years ago. I am the one who seeks the divine feminine in all the world's religions and traditions and for some reason I cannot analyze, this particular madonna feels like it stems from African origins. All I know, is I love the modernity of her and the riot of colors. So often madonnas are so subdued. I am the one who wishes she were flamboyant in her dressing, but I am actually sedate and traditional.
If I could ask this Black Madonna a question it would be, "Where would you lead me next to find out more about you and how to make you more relevant in every day life?"
Because I do so much mixed media collage, art journals and SoulCollage®, I am forever scanning through magazines (many lovingly given me by neighbors and friends), discarded books from the library, and the endless march of catalogs that seem to come daily in the mail. If one has to have an addiction, my scrapbook plastic boxes filled with potential images for my stash, and my endless leafing through magazines, is probably healthier than some addictions I've let go. (And I admit I'm still dragging around a few I'd like to lose.)
So, this art journal page is called "Our Lady of Sorrows," and the images are from my stash box. Around the edges I've written some of the rosary prayer Hail Holy Queen. When times are bad I always remember the line about the valley of tears.
Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
It has been a busy weekend and though I intended to generate some original art or search my personal photo files for images of Mary and madonnas, time simply ran out and I want to participate. Sometimes I think I make projects more complex than they really need to be. I'll admit I have a lingering case of the 3 Ps: perfection, procrastination, paralysis.
So, with a lot of help from Google Images, I looked at all of Pablo Picasso's mother and child art and decided this was my favorite. I was unable, however, to find where the original is. There are lots of posters for it for sale, however. Do any of you know where this particular image lives?
I am late coming to the Mary party today and since I didn't make anything new this week, I randomly chose one of the first SoulCollage® cards I ever made as my day 8 offering. This was get-hair-done-and decorate-for-Christmas day and I always forget how many hours the Christmas stuff takes. I've downsized each year, but it's still a massive undertaking for a 75-year-old.
When I made this card in 2004 I called it Mood Indigo as a Committee suit card, describing at that time some depression I was dancing with. When I drew the card today, however, this looked like a Jewish woman filled with great wisdom. In SoulCollage® we always do "I am the one who" statements to make the images personally relevant. I am the one who venerated the sacred feminine from a very early age and sought her out in many religions and traditions over the years. I am the one who sits at the feet of royalty imagining Mary in shades of purple and blue. I am the one who sits quietly with her and asks her how I can make sense and stay peaceful in the chaotic world we live in. She puts her finger to her lips and says, "Shhh. Just let it be."
For the past three months I have been avoiding many of my art and Internet projects for a variety of reasons, but Rebecca's Mornings With Mary challenge for the first 12 days of December gave me a reason to create with intention.
This is an art journal page I made last night I call "Mother of Sunflowers." I've been creating layers mindlessly for months but never tackled the page itself. I found this soft, gentle Mary on the Internet, but could not find a way to attribute it. Thank you, whoever created her beautiful face. The petals of the sunflower reflect several of St. Theresa of Avila's attributes of Mary in her Litany to Mary.
Dear Mary, my heart
You bring peace to fearful thoughts
When I think of you.
If you are drawn to people's art, photography and words about the divine feminine, be sure to visit Rebecca's site.
This is the second vintage, repurposed Kleenex box shrine I made for the Christ Church Fall Art Show. I call her "Mother Earth." This shrine did not sell so I put it on one of the dressers in my guest bedroom.
For the Christ Church Fall Art Show, in addition to mixed media collage, I made two shrines for the first time. Being the garage/estate sale queen, I'm always on the lookout for "stuff" that can be repurposed into art. This is one of those 60s gilt metal Kleenex boxes that were all the rage. I repainted it and then used Mary's face from a SoulCollage® card as the focal paint. The rest is mixed media collage.
This is the little girl whose mom let her choose between the two shrines and then bought it for her. It gave me such pleasure to know that the piece I called "Shrine: Divine Feminine" went to such a great home.
Be sure to visit Rebecca's Recuerda mi Corazon to see the posts of all the other people who are participating in the 2012 Mornings With Mary challenge.
"Today marks the first day of december beginning twelve days of mornings with mary. Everyone is invited. While this is not about religion, it is about sharing, opening hearts, rejoicing in ultimate mother love. It is about light, compassion, inspiration, and the sweet chance to begin each day together in beauty and peace. I suspect humor and charm will make welcome appearances too. It is really all about showing up, something she clearly is a champ at."
As you can see, I'm jumping on board on the fourth day and hope to post until Dec. 12. Mary represents the divine feminine to me and in my art journals, SoulCollage cards and art, I find myself almost always using images of women and frequently women with a child. I'm hardwired that way.
I work part-time as an archivist and I frequently digitize old photos, predominately ones that pertain to Chadwick School, where I work. Upon opening and organizing old boxes of "stuff," I'll occasionally run across things, that as far as I can tell, do not pertain to our collection. I have a few photo albums that are someone's photography from the 1920s or 1930s that I cannot trace to a former teacher, but I cherish them.
This photo is in an album that has lots of photos of South America and Mexico, all in black and white, and the dates are mostly in the early 1930s. I'm calling this 1930s Mexican Mother and Child. Obviously, the mother has long ago died and this little boy, if living, is in his 80s. What wonderful synchronicity gave me these photos to cherish--and I bless the people who appear in them.
I hope you will join us for Mornings With Mary and visit the sites of the participants. It's a great way to lead up to Christmas.