Jan Joustra – August 2011 Art in Worship

Report of the Art In Worship Workshop, 20 August, 2011, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Te Kuiti, Leader – Jan Joustra.

The Art in Worship Workshop was an event success and social success. People came from Auckland, Tokoroa, Te Aroha, Te Awamutu, Taumarunui, Otorohanga, Te Kuiti, and Piopio.
The 20 odd people who attended fitted the space perfectly for the practical session.

Financially we subsidised a little to make ends meet. I am trying to work out how to say in a few words for posters and media advertisements “Suggested donation $15 to $20. If you cannot afford that much please come anyway as your absence cannot help our finances.” We would much rather have everyone interested attending and making the events worthwhile, than have people stay away because of the cost.

We had expected Jan to bring his sewing machine and demonstrate his interesting simple method of quilting a complicated effect. Instead he showed on powerpoint (probably better able to be seen by everyone) his technique for quilting detailed icons on the chasubles. He first cuts out all the pieces, and layers them in position without the main chasuble fabric. He embroiders each piece individually, starting with any faces – saying “It is easy to mess up a face and while it is just a single piece of fabric not yet attached to the rest, it can easily be replaced”. When each piece is ready he assembles the icon, and finally quilts the completed icon onto the chasuble.

Powerpoint mages showed the progression of styles of architecture and art of churches through the ages, and how much religious art contributed to Art history. We all enjoyed studying Jan’s several chasubles and the other samples of his work, huge woven panels to delicate embroidered net.
The afternoon session was practical. Jan had us all painting, then used these paintings to demonstrate a neat trick for designing a pattern on a garment etc. He cut out small shapes like a jersey and a chasuble in A4 pages, and moved them as picture frames over our paintings to find an appealing design.
Another learning curve – we had not expected to have expense for materials. I will buy the leftover paints etc from the group and that’ll go towards our reimbursing him for them.
I found myself doing a painting of the development of the Workshops ministry.
It was interesting putting how I felt about the process into symbols.

John Niven, the chaplain of Titoki Healing Centre, brought a display of some of the art from people who’d been clients at the Centre. Their stories were enlightening, showing how they were able to express through art what had been going on in their lives and the progress of their healing.
He suggested we should take a group to Titoki for a weekend. That might be interesting/fun/great but I am not sure how we’d fit it in as part of the Workshops system.

This workshop appealed to embroiderers and quilters, suggesting we might branch out into topics not specifically church orientated, but always topics useful in our church activities.

We all felt it was a very worthwhile workshop.
We are in conversation for two more workshops of ‘Art in Worship’ with leaders Stephen Coulter (Art teacher at Bethel College, Tauranga) and with Mark Pierson (an early leader in the Emerging Church Movement in the 70s). Each of these days will include Lay Leadership session.

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