Do you remember that missal cover project I started weeks ago? I got it finished in time for it to be an Easter gift for my mother. In the above view you can see the front and back covers, and below is a view of just the front cover.
I don’t mind telling you, it was very hard work! I learned several new stitches, since my embroidery experience has been cross-stitch up until now, and learning them was fun. Once I learned the stitches, I had to settle in and repeat, repeat, repeat. So many times I had to tear out the stitches of an entire section (that Omega I pulled out and re-stitched three times!) and redo them because a tiny something was off, which I couldn’t see until I had finished it. But only the best is good enough for God, right? (So I had to keep telling myself!)
Definitely more like meditation than an ecstasy of glorious flashes of inspiration (that I still believe all artists must have while working in their studios), the process of making this piece of sacred art required me to practice lots of patience. I prayed as I worked that this missal cover would give glory to God. It is, of course, rich with symbols of God! The “IHS” in the center are the first three letters of Our Lord’s name in Greek; the peacocks are a symbol of the Resurrection, the Alpha and Omega refer to the title Our Lord gave Himself in the Book of Revelation, and the plant at the bottom represents that He is the “True Vine.” (My mother requested that the missal cover be Eucharistic, since she will use it at Holy Mass, and so that is how I decided on what components the design would have.)
Part of what drove the intricacy of the design was my study of art in the Age of Faith. Everything was decorated in a piece of artwork then—every square inch. I’m sure there is a theology to the richness of decoration. From reading Unearthing Your Ten Talents by Dr. Kevin Vost, I have learned that “magnificence”, that is, doing hard, splendid things lovingly for God is a virtue! I’m sure that’s part of what they knew in the Age of Faith that we need to remember nowadays! So I wanted to make an ornate design, and to cover the back, too.
My mother was very happy to finally have a cover for her plain 1960’s missal, and I was happy that the project was done. Now I need to start brainstorming ideas and seeking inspiration for the next one. Hmmm, I just ordered a Sunday Missal myself last week…