A closing reflection from the artist Diana Pops, on the candle holder she was commissioned to create for saint benedict’s table
The candle holder project is finished, and now I am tasked with taking all the threads of the experience of creating it, and weaving some final thoughts together.
I’m going to number the thoughts, because if there is one thing I like, it is order. Here we go.
A huge part of this project was to explore “prayerful craft” or “contemplative craft”. I ran out of things to pray about at about 5 hours in..and so for the remaining 104 hours of the project I simply recited, “May the work of my hands bring glory to Your name. Complete a good work in me.”
If you want to cultivate an extremely peaceful environment, try speaking that prayer thousands of times.
In the late afternoons, I felt especially connected to the project. When hazy light came through my studio windows, speaking that prayer, engraving and engraving and engraving…I felt a profound connection that I had not felt for several years.
We are all works in progress, and so “the good work in me” is, of course, not complete. But, I do feel like “a good work in me” has begun.
Before I knew it, I was craving that peaceful mantra, that peaceful time alone with God and some silver.
That has been the gift of this project to me. So, thank you to the whole saint benedict’s table community for that gift.
Here’s a little artsy-fartsy talk about the techniques and construction points of the candle holder.
The candle holder itself is very near in style and motif to what a “middle class” English village would have created for it’s church during the High Middle Ages.
The engraving on the piece is done in a completely medieval style. The “squiggle” motif on the base of the piece was particularly popular as a decorative element for reliquaries and pieces of Ecclesiastical silverware from the Byzantine Era, right up to the Renaissance (when it was overtaken by a growing demand for scrollwork patterns).
The use of overlaid silver on hardwood was also a popular choice. Often the overlaid silver would be quite thin. Obviously, for this project, I have used a thicker gauge of metal as the longevity of the candle holder is of the utmost importance. The purity of the metal on the candle holder is 999 parts silver to 1 part “whatever they couldn’t smelt out”. This is the purest form of silver that is available on the market. Using this purity of silver (Fine silver), also contributes to the longevity of the piece, as it has no copper in the alloy (which degrades, however slowly, over time). Fine silver is slightly softer than Sterling silver, but for a precious piece like the candle holder, that will be well cared for, it is the perfect alloy.
And, if something ever happens to it (dropped from a very high height?…not sure how that would happen…but I’m just sayin’)…
…I’m just a phone call away.
3. Closing the Door
So, now I’m closing the door on this project. Well, I’m leaving it open just a crack because I am going to make an insert for the candle holder so it can accept a smaller size candle.
So, just, Thank you. Thank you for trusting me with something so precious. I am honoured.
I’ll let Tolkien have the last word.
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
My very best,