Visually many of our celebrationsaround Advent and Christmasfeature light as a main ingredient.Lighted trees, sparklingstars, warm candlelight, glisteningsnow, bright reflective wrapping andbows—all are turned on “high” duringthis season. Yes, we’re fighting off longgrey days and even longer dark nights—but in so many ways we’re remindingeach other that even though darkness isall around, the Light has come.
Jeanne Logan (website:jeannelogan.com)teaches design at Indiana University.She created the visual Burst (right) forher church for Lent. I think this art isas perfect for reminding us of the “shiningforth” of Epiphany as it is for suggestingthe earthquake that shook thegarden when the angel came and rolledthe stone away.
With Jeanne’s gracious permission,it is reproduced here to inspire you tocreate something that can shine duringAdvent and Christmas and on throughEpiphany (the twelve days afterChristmas).
What Makes an Artist?
I asked Jeanne a few questions about theart and about herself:
How big is thispiece? What materialsdid you use,and how long didit take you?
This piece is twopanels, each 3 by 7feet. Although it wasinitially hung on twoseparate walls, thechurch now hangsthem together, and itis much more effective.It took forty tofifty hours to createand sew; probably another eight hoursto gather all the fabric. It’s made of readyto-use purchased fabrics: all glitzy, sparkly,sequined, party fabrics. I used irononadhesive, cut many pieces from eachfabric, stacked them, and used themlike a palette of colors as I created thefinal design. After they were in place, Iironed the whole piece to activate theadhesive, and then quilted each of theshapes. It is the quilting that makes thefinal piece so rich. Before the stitching,it was quite nice—but very flat.
How do you like to work?
If a piece is for a church, I usually dosome theological research and togetherwe discuss ways of integrating theirphysical needs and theological references.Eventually, I take everything I’velearned and go to my studio to work.Unless I’m collaborating with someone,I work alone in my studio.
You’re obviously an accomplishedartist. Where did it all begin?
I’ve been drawing and sewing sinceI was a child. My grandmother andmother taught me the beauty andcraftsmanship in creative sewing. Butit wasn’t until I was in graduate schoolat the University of Notre Dame andmet Barbara Peterson, the fiber professor,that I thought about using fabricsfor my media.
A colleague of mine recently mentionedthat she would love to paint,but it’s the paint that intimidates her.Not the canvas, not the brushes, thepaint! What advice can you give theartist-wannabes among us?
I tell my students: It’s only paper! Ifit doesn’t work, throw it out! And I havelots of paper on hand so they don’t runout. People often get tied up in the ideathat everything they create has to be amasterpiece. When I dye three yards offabric, I can only hope that there willbe one beautiful yard. And sometimesI still start over completely.
Any last words?
“Banner.” I never use the term for myown work—and suggest that other artistsalso avoid it. The term is often synonymouswith quick, cheap, and disposable—a concept that probably comesfrom the proliferation of felt and burlap“banners” in the back of church closets.