“Courage of Face” | LaDanse Award 2016

Or "An Exposition of The Color Purple"

In March I was asked to design the 2016 LaDanse awards for the annual Spring Banquet at The Seattle School. The request was such an honor and one that I thought and dreamt about for much time before I landed on a design. 

When you first walk into The Seattle School, you cannot help but notice a large stunning painting in the common area. It is the LaDanse painting, reimagined for the Seattle School by Phil Nellis from a sketch by Henri Metisse. It is meant to capture the emotional and physical work that students and faculty engage with each other, with themselves, and with God. It is indeed a dance. 

For me, the LaDanse painting captures the intersections that are spoken of at the Seattle School - of Text, Soul, and Culture. Personally, I am fascinated by the way The Seattle School engages these intersections - just the fact that I have found a home to be both a student of theology and a woodworking artist is one intersection I am so tremendously grateful for. 

So "intersections" became a theme that I sought to play with in my design both overtly and in nuance. 

I used a primary material called Purple Hearted. It's a dense hardwood that grows in Brazil and yields a natural purple color.

Purple, is an important color to history and especially Christianity. It's a rare color in nature that historically has had the sense of royalty of divinity. 

In Christian tradition the color purple is that of the Christ at Advent. In Jewish tradition, Purple is the most prominent color that defines the aesthetic of the Tabernacle. 

It's fascinating to consider the example of the color spectrum, where Purple exists between Red and Blue. In the tabernacle, the purple curtains defined the space where the blue of the heavens, intersected the red blood of humanity and thus relationship with God took shape in a purple place.

Where God intersects humanity... purple.

If you haven't gathered, as a woodworker and a student of theology, I geek out about this! And I find beauty in the fact that the material itself is a very real example of the intersection between humanity and God.

I called the pieces, "Courage of Face" because the work that is required to walk into intersections at The Seattle School, is hard, and terrifying, and challenging, and must always begin as courageous act of turning to face one's self, each other and God. 


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Posted in Creativity, Thoughts from Jordan.