Liturgical Art is art in service to God and Church. Liturgical art is also an expression of faith in praise and gratitude to God. At TPC we rejoice in the creative nature of God and all God’s people by nurturing individual and participatory artistic expressions of faith. We celebrate aesthetics in worship and in community through a wide array of visual arts, storytelling, dramatic scripture readings, music, movement, poetry, creative prayer and spiritual practices. We seek to express in new ways artistic ministry that engages hands, hearts and minds with the traditions and seasons of the church community. The TPC Staff and Worship, Music and Arts Committee work together to create worship experiences that engage all ages more deeply in the mystery, awe, reverence and wonder of our Creator. As we celebrate each church season in art, song, prayer and praise, may we at Towson Presbyterian be transformed and renewed in spirit and faith.
In looking for a project that the church school could embrace for the Advent season, Director of Christian Education Sue Thompson found a project that a church in England started in 2007 called a “Crib Service.” This project involved making life-sized characters out of paper. Using this papier-maché project as inspiration, it was adapted for Towson Presbyterian Church and worked on throughout the weeks of Advent by an intergenerational group. Musician and sculptor, Lucy Meyer, finished sculpting all of the pieces originally worked on by various families of TPC, using the plaster cloth described below.
Medium: Papier-maché, using plaster cloth and newspaper, plastic bags and coat wires, spray paint and glitter The figures were inspired by Early Renaissance painter Sandro Boticelli’s graceful paintings of the Nativity and of the Adoration of the Magi. Papier-maché is one of the oldest surviving forms of artwork, possibly as old as the invention of paper itself dating back to Ancient Egypt. None of the figures were carved down, but instead built up from the wire and cardboard frames themselves. Once the forms were made, using hanger wire and plastic bags and paper, careful application of strips of newspaper were then adhered. Lastly, powdered paper or pulp was used to form faces, in addition to the use of modeling material called plaster cloth, also used in orthopedic casts, which was then draped as clothing to bring the figures to life.
Two blue velvet panels of lily vines and dogwood branches from the triptych banner, Easter Joy, are placed beside the white Easter Alleluia banner. An ivory silk panel hangs behind it and creates a shadow image to remind us of Jesus’ death on the cross, but also to highlight the Alleluia we joyously say, sing and hear this day of Christ’s resurrection. The blue velvet and silk panels are made from the original dossal curtains that hung above the chancel where our organ pipes and wooden cross now hang. The many different colored fabric butterflies, placed by the children around the Alleluia banner and on the large stone, symbolize new life and beauty emerging from the darkness of the cocoon, like Christ from the tomb, to reveal the glory of the risen Christ and victory over death. We are changed and transformed by the love of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Stone inspired by Colossians 1:13-14: He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Easter Alleluia inspired by 1 Corinthians 15:52b: For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Easter Joy inspired by John 15: I am the vine, you are the branches… As the father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love… I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.