Thursday, August 10, 2017

Boiling Water

This year I learned to make nature prints. A nature print is a unique and unexpected way to imprint a botanical impression onto paper.

Here is one of my favorites. 
I love the darkness juxtaposed with the leaves. It looks almost photographic. Although I am new at this, the unusual process really does the work of reproducing the beauty.

Can you guess how this paper took on this impression?
What do you think?

This print started with a piece of carefully chosen paper-
paper that the artist knows will hold the natural dye coming from the leaves,   
paper that will record and hold the image accurately and                      
paper that has the strength to survive the process.

Leaf wrap 
Placing the leaves on the selected paper, I sandwich them with another piece of quality paper. Then beginning at one end of the sandwich, I roll it up around a copper tube, as tightly as I can so the leaves cannot slip out and their surface is in close contact with the paper. If the leaves somehow slip out, that paper area will not take on an impression.

The leaves were chosen for their color, texture and form. I want to see the diversity of nature. Each completed piece will be unique. Even if I tried, it would be impossible to make two exactly alike. The botanical matter touches each side differently  (See proof below.)

Once the paper is rolled tightly,  I take strong twine and wrap it like a mummy, around and around and around. The ends are knotted tightly in several places.

Now we subject the paper to something we might think would destroy it.
Boiling water

Depending on the thickness of the paper, we submerge this pack of leaves tightly wrapped, from 20 minutes to over an hour.   

When the boiling is finished, out comes the package. Since it was boiled with other packages, it has taken on the color that was released during boiling, turning quite dark. Once out, these packages must cool before handling them. Because of the outward appearance, it's difficult to believe there could be breathtaking beauty under there.

But this is not the end of the process. The pattern, color and textures are set, but until you cut the ropes and expose them to the light, they remain hidden.  When I loosen the cords and peel off the leaves, I can see the images have permeated the paper
Again, sometimes it's almost photographic.  Aren’t these stunning?

These two papers were partners in sandwiching.
How do WE take on the impression of things beautiful. Can you guess?

Sometimes God uses things we might think would destroy us to leave an impression.  God is creative, you know. As Lois Lindley used to say, "When God acts, he acts in view of the whole of his character."  Goodness, mercy, kindness, love, compassion, patience, long-suffering, etc. Some of the reassuring points of his character:

   He tells us that he has chosen us-, you, me -intentionally and by name. Romans 8:29
   He knows our strengths and weaknesses and will provide a way of escape in testing.  1 Cor. 10:13
   He has given us the example of his son and placed his spirit within us:, he intimately associates with us to leave the impression of his character. Heb. 12:2 and 2 Tim 1:14
Could it be almost photographic?

The process (a method of sanctification) may seem as destructive as dropping bound packages of paper into boiling water.
Destructive, unproductive and certainly not beautifying.
But the greatest Artist knows what will result - first character within and then, once unwrapped, beauty that can be observed.

Impressing images into our souls is a process, a way, a road. God has intentions for everything that comes into our lives. Boiling can be painful, arduous to the soul. Think of Jesus in Gethsemane. The ropes are confining, claustrophobic, overwhelming at times. Think of Jesus on the cross.
Joni EarecksonTada said, "God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves."

Mercifully, not everybody will have dramatic drastic boiling. Sometimes the artist boils, sometimes he uses paint and brushes, a potter’s wheel or pastels. There are people who live quiet (though not sinless) lives of integrity who are transformed by their attentiveness to God’s spirit. God's creativity in his creation allows him to diversify his methods in each of our lives.

Yet if we are his children, his goal, his masterpiece is conforming us to the image of his son because he knows THAT is consummate beauty.

1 comment:

Abigail Joy Stevens said...

What a beautiful form of art! And yes, what an analogy!