A Journey’s End…

It started about 8 years ago. I was at Camp Calumet and saw a poster on one of the bulletin boards that was a picture of a mural that artist David Hetland created at the 2003 ELCA Youth Gathering in Atlanta, GA. It was love at first site. I kept thinking, I want to reproduce that in fabric! I even dreamt about it! Finally I got up the courage to ask for the poster…and it was MINE!

Fast forward to 2006…my husband (a Lutheran Pastor) accepts a call to Messiah Lutheran Church in Amherst NH. After a while of settling in, I realize that the back wall of the sanctuary is the perfect place for this piece of art! I talk to a few people who are in charge of that kind of stuff, one of the ladies wanted me to reproduce the stained glass at the Valparaiso chapel…ummmm how do I politely say, “No, I want my piece there!” So I went to the artists’ website and sent him an email. Sadly, I found out that he had died just a few months earlier (Easter Sunday, 2006) but through email conversations, was giving permission to recreate his mural. But with everything going on in Amherst, I could not find the time to start the project. I just tucked my poster and dream away…

Fast forward once again, to 2011…Messiah celebrates it’s 25th Anniversary this year. November 20th is the date decided for the big celebration and my friend Trudi says, let’s pick a day and get started on that wall hanging, maybe we can get it done for the anniversary. So Trudi, Connie and I begin our journey to create this masterpiece!

Picking out fabrics! This is the fun part!

First, I scanned the images into the computer and then projected the images on a wall where we took turns tracing the design onto newsprint. Then using sharpies, we re-traced the images on the reverse side so that we could make pattern pieces. Then we traced the pattern pieces onto fusible webbing. Then came the fun part — finding just the right fabrics! I originally only wanted to used batiks and hand dyed fabrics, but some colors were almost impossible to find so on some spots we used regular cotton quilting fabric.

We really had no plan, so for the first banner, we had our piece of black fabric for the background ready and we started ironing the pattern pieces to the different fabrics. Then we had to cut them all out — some of the design elements took a LOT of little pieces! Then it was time to put the puzzle together. We tried laying the fabric on top of the paper pattern but soon realized that it just wasn’t going to work that way. So we took to laying the paper pattern alongside the actual piece. This way we could see if it was the right length. Then the moment of truth…iron it all down and OHMYGOSH! It looks amazing!! Now we just have to repeat the process NINE more times!

The first panel done (well, sort of!)

Each time we got together to work on another panel, it got easier and easier…not that it was ever easy but it did get easier! We developed a system that worked really well for us. It took approximately eleven months to make the ten banners which isn’t too bad considering we only met once a week!

Two down, eight to go!

Number five of ten...halfway there!

working on Jesus' face...this is my favorite panel!

The Jesus panel finished (he's a hottie!)

The last panel...

Of course, once we got everything put together, we had to sew it all down! Connie sewed three panels, I sewed three and Trudi sewed four (glutton for punishment if you ask me!). We pressed, we measured, we measured again and then we cut the backing fabrics and spent and evening trying to figure out how to get them to be all the same size (this would have worked better if we had measured stuff from the beginning! But hey, this is ART!). So with a little tweaking here and there we figured it all out…and just in TIME! The anniversary celebration is THIS SUNDAY!

As soon as they’re unveiled at church, I will post a picture of the completed project! I am so excited that it’s done but also a little bittersweet…It was a long journey, but the reward is great!

Special Thanks to: The Estate of David Hetland for giving us permission to reproduce his artwork. Ed, Henry & Tom for putting up with us while we were on this journey. René for helping us hang it at church and a big thank you to Connie and Trudi for helping me see my vision to the end!

Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

26 Comments

Susan

Always knew you were a smart cookie…. now look at what you’ve done!!! Excellent. Good job to the 3 of you. Looking forward to seeing the final creation.

Sharon Fox

Lisa, how awesome. One is a work of art, but ten… what talent…. I wish I could see in person. Your church will be beautiful!!!

Lois Kindley

I caught this on FB last night and now to read through the whole thing! Very cool. 8 years to inception, nice!! And I agree Jesus IS a hottie! LOVE it!! Can’t wait to see it at the auction!

Marie

Wow Lisa! You, Trudi, and Connie have done a fabulous job on these – what a work of art!! Trudi had shown me them in her phone – technology 🙂 but – WOW the pictures are just beautiful!!! 🙂

Cheryl

Those are amazing. Is there a chance you could reproduce those to pattern form? I would love to make those for our church.

Thanks to all of you for sharing this.

René Therrien

I was at the secret hanging/unveiling yesterday. They are gorgeous!!!!

Judy Devor

Oh MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! I cannot wait to see the picture of the whole thing hanging! You guys are true artists…it should be entered for competition!

Lori Poindexter

Oh Lisa, So beautiful! So incredible! Great idea and finished product is just a tremendous blessing!

Jeannie weller

WOW! Quadruple WOW! What a labor of love, and think how gorgeous they willmbe for our Quilt Show!!! An extra special added feature! Congrats to all three of you and to the artist’s estate for giving permission. He would be proud!
Jeannie

christine

great job. they look beautiful in photos, so I can only imagine how gorgeous they look in real life!

congrats to you all on your hard work!

Shari

WOW! can’t wait to see the pictures of the finished project! what a huge undertaking!!

Peggy Nagle

Stunning! An inspiring project. congratulations on getting this done. Can’t wait to see the photo of the finished project!

Gari

This is just beautiful, both the artwork and your fabric reproduction. What a wonderful addition to the sanctuary it will be.

Jo Anne

WOW!!!Those are beautiful. Wish I could see them in person. Give each other a pat on the back for such a job well done.
Jo Anne

Susan

Be interesting to know what the original artist’s people will think of your interpretation of his work.

This is an amazing piece of art, you ladies should be extremely proud of yourselves.

Kris B

Lisa these are beautiful, what a great story of your journey. Will look for the picture of the panels hanging in the church.

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