Coyote Sue told me about the contest.
A local coffee shop was holding an art contest with the theme “Sacred Heart” just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Oh yeah, I thought. I can collage it up to that theme.
I grew up Catholic, so I was familiar with the imagery of Jesus and his Sacred Heart, but if you’re not, here’s a picture from Two Heart Design (http://www.twoheartsdesign.com):
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Heart) says,
The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.
Somehow the teachers at my weekly Catechism classes failed to teach me what the Sacred Heart was all about, and I had to turn to Wikipedia again. The aforementioned article says,
The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ’s physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity.
This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and among some high-churchAnglicans and Lutherans. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity, and its long suffering. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675, and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested, in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.
I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I started the project. I knew I wanted to make a collage, and I knew I wanted to profess the sacredness of my heart. As interesting as a heart pierced by a lance wound and surrounded by a crown of thorns may be, I decided not to go the Jesus route with my project. Yes, in the collage for the contest, I would make the sacred heart in question my own.
Most of my collages are small, usually about 4″ x 6″, postcard size. The minimum size accepted for this contest was 8″ x 10″. OH! This was going to be a big one.
I started gathering materials at my favorite purveyor of inspiration, the thrift store.
At the thrift store, I found an inspirational plaque with the saying “Home is Where the Heart Is.” I liked it because the words were written on a piece of heavy cardboard that projected from the frame. I also bought half a bottle of red fingernail polish which I used to paint a copper colored border. Finally, I found a big red cardboard heart to use as the focal point of the project.
After painting the border, I started collaging the areas within and outside the border. I used mostly images I had on hand. I also collaged the big red cardboard heart. I went back and forth between those two parts of the project.
I wanted my sacred heart to be somewhat realistic, so I found a royalty free image of an anatomical heart from “a Vintage Circa 1884 Science Book” on http://thegraphicsfairy.com/royalty-free-images-anatomical-heart-vintage/. I used colored pencils to color the body of the heart red and the blood vessels a purply blue. Later, I used purple and red glass beads to accent the parts of the heart and the blood vessels.
My final touch on the anatomical heart was to add words of inspiration and aspiration next to the letters marking the different regions of the heart. For example, the letter H shows the part of my heart where “breathing with joy and ease” occurs. Part C of my heart is “joyous.” The letter I points to the area from where my compassion flows.
In addition to the images I cut from magazines and catalogs, I used real stones on my collage. I added turquoise (which is said to stimulate romantic love), rose quartz (the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace) and quartz crystals (a powerful healer and energy amplifier) I dug up in Arkansas. In the middle of the anatomical heart, I glued on a cubic zirconia a friend sent me last summer. The cubic zirconia and the self-stick “jewels” I bought at Wal-Mart give the whole project a bit of bling.
I pierced the representation of my heart with little skewers which once held tea bags from the shop sponsoring the contest. Those skewers sport little red hearts. I think the skewers evoke the piercing by the lance in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I attached metal spirals which I painted with glittery nail polish, as well as a large red glass heart which had been crookedly glued to my dash. (I used three different kinds of glue to make this collage! Is that some kind of a record?)
The queen of hearts represents me, and the pink image of Guanyin (or Guan Yin) represents the compassion and mercy I want to offer to myself and others. (For those who may not know, Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanyin] says Guanyin
Since I’m a word person, I couldn’t let the piece go without a written explanation.
My heart is sacred, fragile, and precious.
I used the definitions from an old dictionary Coyote Sue gave me to explain the meaings of the words “sacred,” “fragile,” and “precious.”
I call this collage “Valentine for My Own Dear Heart.” It’s a reminder to me that my heart needs to be treated with reverence and care. Anyone who gets close to my heart better be prepared to treat it kindly.