Stations of the Cross with imagery from 2nd-3rd graders

This week, I am interrupting my work on the apple tree print to make a piece for House of Mercy‘s Stations of the Cross service this Friday.

This year, each of the 14 stations will be a body part. I’m doing Station VII Jesus Falls a Second Time, the right calf and foot, and Station IX Jesus Falls a Third Time, the right thigh and knee. For me, the Jesus Falls stations are about incarnation, humility, a God who gets dirty. And those who know my work know I am fascinated by dirt, both on and under the ground.

In 2008 I made this sculptural book called Glimpses Underground. It was inspired by turning over a rock and discovering a window to an underground world full of ant tunnels, worm castings, roots and invertebrates. The cover and container for the book is made of paper cast over a rock. The pages are shaped to match the contours of the rock so that they fit within it, and are bound together by a single cord. Each page has a different woodcut-printed glimpse of something one might find underground or under a rock.

I made Glimpses Underground intending to make a large edition of books, but I decided I didn’t need more than 2 or 3 finished books, so I have a lot of leftover cast rocks and shaped pages, some printed and some not. For this year’s stations of the cross, I thought I would recycle some of those pages and the structural idea from the book. I will trim the pages to make them the contours of the foot and leg, and bind them with a cord running through them. I will use some of the ones that are printed, to bring the world of the dirt into the meditation on Jesus’ falls.

I will also use some of the blank pages, painted with walnut dye by 2nd and 3rd graders in Sunday School yesterday. I told them before they started painting that I would use them in my piece for the Stations of the Cross service. We talked about and painted imagery from four stories for Holy Week: Palm Sunday’s triumphal procession with palm leaves, the Last Supper’s bread and wine, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.


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