i had several challenges when putting this together. the church rents space in two different locations, Ruggles Baptist and Boston Temple. so the installation couldn't stay up - it had to be taken down immediately after the Vigil was over. that meant i had to put the installation together in such a way as to make the installing and the removal process relatively easy. i couldn't drill anything into the walls. the Vigil would take place in the dark, so lighting was a big issue. but these challenges helped shape the piece into what it is. i used plastic water bottles so the installation as a whole is extremely light and sturdy.
many have asked me questions about the process and the thought behind the installation, so i thought i'd jot it down here, both for me and for those of you who wish to know more.
i guess the story begins back in December 2015. my family was searching for a new church and we stumbled on the website of Church of the Cross. we visited Christmas Eve and have continued since. in January 2016, i met with the Director of Music, Ryan, and we had a conversation about art, esp about art in the church. which was unusual for me - it has been a very long time since i've had a leader of a church engage with me about what i do. and perhaps this was why i agreed to participate in the Easter Vigil at Church of the Cross by creating a piece for it. i was mostly curious, but i was completely caught off guard. if i hadn't been so caught off guard, i might have said no.
some of you are probably very familiar with an Easter Vigil, but i was not. since i had no previous experience to go on, i used the order of Scripture readings as a guide. the readings begin with the story of creation and take us through the entire story of God's relationship with us, the world, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus. the primary images in the Vigil are the cross and the movement from darkness to light. but for me, the thread that ran through all the Scripture readings was the image of water. it was present in each reading, in some form or another, a silent tangible extension of God's presence. or the absence of God's presence, as in the reading of the dry bones, the bones dry and lifeless. moments before Jesus' death on the cross, He said, "i thirst," a physical yearning for His Father who had turned from Him.
the images of water were big and grand in the readings in the first half of the Vigil: creation, Noah's ark, the parting of the Sea as Israel fled from Egypt. but it takes a different turn in the sixth reading, a passage from Isaiah 55. there, God calls those of us who thirst to come: "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters...For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
why plastic water bottles? (many thanks to the members of Church of the Cross who contributed to this installation by bringing in your plastic bottles! and to my husband who went dumpster diving for me) if you know me and my work, you know that i love to take stuff from the dumpster and transform it into something that looks completely different from it's original form; taking the rejected and transforming it into something beautiful. and we live in a place where clean water is so abundant, we take it for granted and don't understand the full value of it in our lives. the same can be said of God's grace and goodness.
Thirst. we won't know the full extent of our need until we thirst.