a closer consideration

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a closer consideration

“…the money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

I have very personal response to this story, having myself been a prodigal. It was this story that brought me back to a life of faith. It has been a challenge to try to find a new aspect to consider as it is one of my favorite stories Jesus told.

I spent an afternoon collecting flotsum from the river’s flood, little pieces of… driftwood, plastic, weathered styrofoam made round by the waves and … small bits of corn cobs. This made me think of the prodigal, who after finding his friends were only using him, began to starve for lack of money to buy food. He was yearning to eat even the pods he was feeding the pigs.

Another day, I collected material fit for the trash can or to be composted. I found coffee grounds in a used filter, the shells of iris bulbs hollowed out by winter, wilted ornamental kale and a used tea bag. That hungry son must have seriously and closly examined that pig slop. I used this time of painting to consider closely what is really just garbage.

With what am I trying to nourish myself?

I often think of the scene in Walt Wangerin’s Book of the Dun Cow, where the flock of chicken’s are starving because of a famine. One thin hen stumbled onto a valley full of empty cicada shells. She begins to eat them, filling her empty stomach but getting no nourishment from the dried shells. She keeps this valley a secret from the others and sneaks off each day to gorge herself, all the while becoming thinner and thinner.

“Why would I even consider eating pig food when in my Father’s house even the servant eats well?” What do I do to try to fill up my emptiness? There is a feast spread at a table prepared for me. The fatted calf awaits.

I want my share…now

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give me my portion, now

from prodigal’s rings series

I want my share now

quarter, silver plated bread knife blade, acorn, brass tube rivet

the story… “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

acorns

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acorns

acorns,coins,silverware

these are for the upcoming Olive Tree Arts show prodigal.

This series of rings will be framed in a shadow box to protect them and present them as 1 piece of art.

the story…“A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.  “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’  “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’  “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

My response to this story is very personal, having been a prodigal myself. I have been struggling to find a way to use jewelry to tell this story. I considered something more direct like a bracelet, etched with images from art history. But, I do not want to limit the viewer’s perception of the artwork. I settled on a series of rings- the prodigal’s rings. They are open to interpretation. One way of thinking of this would be a made up story. In my imagination, the prodigal was overcome with gratitude for the forgiveness and loving kindness of his father. He was received with open arms, a new robe, a fatted calf and- a ring for his hand. The son was grateful but careful, too. He wanted to insure he would not make the same mistakes or even fall into a wrong habit of thinking about his circumstances. He decides to create reminders for himself to remember to be content and patient. In my imagination’s story of the prodigal, he created rings for each finger of his right hand. These rings are made from humble items, coins, eating utensils and acorns, food for pigs. Each day when the son rises he puts on the rings as tangible reminders to have humility and gratitude.

As for materials in this series of rings, I have been working with found items for nearly 30 years. I like to make jewelry from items often overlooked. Silverware has been a staple source for material for several years and I have always! always been fascinated with acorns.