Working on the design for a new tapestry. I think Greek script in the New Testament is a beautiful form of writing. Several NT Greek words have profound resonance in Christian thought and experience. I am exploring ways of using colour and shape to give visual texture to those resonances, while at the same time wondering if colour and shape have any contribution to an exegesis of key words in theology and spirituality.
So I spent a while drafting a design, choosing colours and now just seeing what builds. But while stitching each letter, and therefore looking closely at these words, slowly giving shape, choosing colour, co-ordinating action of fingers and vision, I am wondering what the contemplative patience of such work contributes to a deeper appropriation of a text.
Whether such a visual medium contributes to the meaning of the text would require a much more technical discussion of hermeneutics, theological asthetics, liturgical symbolism and iconography. I've no such ambitions. Working tapestry is a form of meditative activity, which may at times draw the heart into contemplative attentiveness, the controlled freedom that comes from serious engagement with and receptiveness before the text. That said, there's something different about designing a tapestry around the form of a script, the shape of letters and words, and allowing that treatment to be shaped by theological presuppositions about the meaning of the words. What would be interesting is whether anything new emerges from a several week process of concentrated creative work focused on the form of the letters and words.
So we'll see what comes of it. For those interested I work in stranded cotton, blending the colours like paint on a pallette, and use a minimum of 22 points to the inch canvas.