The church’s namesake,
St. Thomas Aquinas,
starts us on our Biblical journey
(The wall hanging commemorates the 75th anniversary of the founding of St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center in Ames, Iowa)
Scenes in my improvisational fabric wall hanging tell the story of Easter, following a path from bottom to top. Just like a painting, this artwork required planning, and especially so because of its size and complexity. I started with sketches to experiment with the layout and people’s gestures.
Some of the sketches are shown below, alongside those sections of their final fabric design. Poet Phil Kemp wrote “The Meeting Place” to accompany the wall hanging, with stanzas for each of the Easter scenes, included here in the captions.
The wall hanging will be on display at St. Thomas Aquinas Church until Pentecost (June 5 this year), the conclusion of Easter season. The STA Art page is a guide to artwork you may find on regular display around the church and Student Center.
THE MEETING PLACE
Did you meet Him that first morning
when John baptized him in the Jordan
when the dove descended and the
voice thundered: “this is My Son; listen to Him”?
Did you meet Him on that sad morning
outside Jerusalem where around the cross
faithful women stood and wept at the
slow death of their beloved?
Did you meet Him in the women
who went to perform the sad duty
of perfuming the body of the man
who had shown them the fullness of love?
Did you meet Him with those
who gazed upon the unbelievable
sight of the emptied cave, the ones
who heard, “He is risen; He is not here”?
Did you meet Him on the stony road
running away from the failure of dreams
and not recognize in the stranger who walked beside
the object of your desire?
Will you meet Him here in
the breaking of the bread?
Will you open your eyes and see
that He is with you always
even to the end of the age?
“The Meeting Place” poem © 2022 Phil Kemp
Wall hanging photos excerpted from a larger photo © 2022 Bobby LeBlanc
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