Faith on Friday: Random Acts of Art

Icon Corner_edited-1Today’s post really isn’t so much about faith. But it’s about art. And beauty. And how much they affect our lives. I’ll start with a few words about icons, which are a form of liturgical/spiritual art.

We’ve only been in our new house for about three weeks. The first images I hung on our walls are the icons in this picture. Many Orthodox Christians create an “icon corner” in their homes in order to have a designated place to pray. I know you can pray anywhere, but it really helps to have a quiet place with a other-worldly focus.

My friend Karissa Sorrell published a piece about icons on her blog this week. She linked to my article, “Icons Will Save the World,” in her post. But she also answered some questions about the spiritual meaning behind these images. You can read it here:

Ask About Orthodoxy: Are Icons Idolatry?

A corner where our living room meets our breakfast room creates interesting walls for art.
A corner where our living room meets our breakfast room creates interesting walls for art.

But I don’t believe that spiritual art is the only kind of art that can save us. Or that icons were the only thing Dostoyevsky was thinking of when he wrote, “Beauty can save the world.” I am greatly affected by my surroundings, especially in my home. In our last house, I was blessed to have one wall full of bookshelves and two good walls for art in my office. In the new house, my lovely sunroom/office has one wall of glass doors that look out onto a garden/patio, two walls of doors and windows into the rest of the house (this used to be a porch), and only one small wall for hanging art.

watercolors of places in Oxford, Mississippi, by my friend from high school, Kit Whitsett Fields
watercolors of places in Oxford, Mississippi, by my friend from high school, Kit Fields

My friend, Deb came over this week to help me decide where to hang some of my (many) works of art. I was thrilled with her suggestions for the living room, breakfast room, and master bedroom. Even the stairwell. And she had some good thoughts for my little sunroom, too. I’m having a wonderful time building my little galleries, room by room.

And then this morning I read this wonderful article by Stacey Wiedower in the Commercial Appeal:

“Random collection of art pieces brings personal meaning to room”

An "art scene" in Hillary Butler's home
An “art scene” in Hillary Butler’s home

Wiedower talks about many of the same things Deb and I were discussing earlier in the week—about the importance of surrounding yourself with art that has meaning to you, and not worrying so much about what “matches” your furniture. And I love what she says about mixing types of art to create a more interesting collection. That’s exactly what I did in my previous office, and now I plan to do it again. I might also create a little “gallery” in our dining room, which has the most wall space in the house.

il_570xN.577877669_lzv3And I just ordered some custom-built corner shelves—made from reclaimed shutters—from an artist on Etsy yesterday. That will give me some space for displaying meaningful knick-knacks and small pictures. Check ‘em out here:

Shabby Chic—Reclaimed Shutter Corner Shelf Made-to-Order

Deb also told me about a wonderful thing that’s happening now called “domestic galleries” or “home galleries.” Folks are opening their homes—even tiny apartments—for their artist friends to display their work. I just found this article about it in the Washington Post.

All this to say that art is saving my soul this Bright Week (the week after Easter for Orthodox Christians). I’ve got a couple of writing projects to work on today, but tomorrow I’ll be hanging pictures again. Can’t wait to create more little galleries!

Please share!

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