Holy Apostles Tapestry

Submitted by Judy Dioszegi

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Client: Holy Apostles Anglican Church

Location: Sunshine Victoria, Australia

Completion date: Jan 01, Array

Artwork budget: $45,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

Randall Lindstrom

Randall Lindstrom, M. Arch. Consultant

Other

Rev. Stuart Soley

Artist

Judy Dioszegi

Judy Dioszegi, designer

Artist

Debbie Vicini

Judy Dioszegi, designer

Overview

This 15' x 15' tapestry, made of silks, wools and other fibers, hangs on the reredos wall of Holy Apostles Church. Its design subtly suggests the presence of 12 apostles, indicated by the 15 neutral colored rectangles. The rectangles, “apostles”, freed from historic boundaries, suggest there are other holy people who gather with them, around their holy table. Organic ribbons of color create paths that flow and intertwine, alluding to our individual life and spiritual journeys. The story, only suggested, not fully “told”, allows for open interpretation and the possibility that there's more than one way to “relate” to it.

Goals

The goals of integrating commissioned artwork into this project were influenced by the desire to bring artistic authenticity and visual unity to all the elements that make up this space. Located in a small, rural area, the goal was to make this prayerful space inviting, warm and special so that all feel welcome. It was very important to consider the integration of the tapestry design into the overall design. Although a focal point, the tapestry functions with the surrounding architecture and furnishings so as not to dominate, but integrate, offsetting strong lines with free flowing curves. It was hoped from the start that the processional cross could interact with the tapestry. Ultimately, the design allowed for the processional cross to align with the cross on the tapestry creating a cohesive whole while maintaining artistic individuality. Technical drawings and elevations were shared in an effort to create successful alignment. Based on the surrounding landscape, native colors and rich fabrics were carefully chosen to bring the outside in and were strategically placed to allow the eye to wander the tapestry just as it may wander the horizon.

Process

The collaborative process presented on many levels. The artist, Judy, traveled to Australia and saw the church at its inception as construction began. A dialogue between pastor, artist, consultant, and liturgical committee began. The consultant designed the altar, ambo, processional cross and other furnishings. The strong linear architecture and handsome angular wood furnishings provided a perfect complement to a fabric tapestry. Throughout the process the design developed as many conversations and drawings were emailed back and forth from Illinois to Australia. Dialogue and feedback drove the design from conception to reality. What began as a very literal interpretation of the apostles manifested into a lesser sense of realism and sought to find the relative balance between literalism and abstraction. The hope is that viewers are further challenged to explore the mystery of the "ethereal" by finding themselves in that "holy" context. Prior to installation, STAG Shopfitting in Melbourne, created a system to install the five 3' x 15' panels, while allowing for flexibility to change the center panel for the five liturgical seasons - Ordinary Time, Celebratory, Advent, Lent and Pentecost. Even shipping was a coordinated effort as special packaging was created to guarantee safe delivery.

Additional Information

This project is our largest tapestry to date. Technically, working internationally using the metric system made necessary a system of checks and balances to ensure proper conversions and sizes. From a production standpoint, alignment of all the panels was critical. Every piece was cut by hand, pinned, basted, sewn, then rechecked for alignment against a paper pattern. Finishing measurements were precise to ensure proper installation. The final check took place on the floor of a large multifunction room allowing us to see the complete picture for the first time!