Our Lady of the Holy Souls

Submitted by Ulrika Leander

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Client: Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church

Location: Little Rock, AR, United States

Completion date: 2002

Project Team

Artist

Ulrika Leander

Architect

George R. Hoelzman

Overview

This project was part of a complete renovation of the church interior. Commissioned artists were selected early in the process to work on the designs of the sanctuary furnishings, wood panels and carved sculptures, and stained glass windows. As part of this collaborative effort, a visionary altarpiece tapestry measuring 168 ins. high x 84 8ns.wide was designed and hand-woven. The design brief was to express the theme of the prayers of the people borne upwards by the rising incense.

Goals

Designing and hand-weaving a mural -scale tapestry for the altar was one of several artistic and constructional projects which included all of the sanctuary furnishings, the altar, adjacent wood paneling, sculptures and stained glass windows. A strong emphasis was placed on the integration of the individual artistic projects so that the various elements of individual creativity contributed harmoniously in an overall expression of communal faith.

Process

The commissioned artists were involved at a very early stage of the overall project in meetings with interior designers, architects and liturgical consultants so that the individual designs could be shared and gradually evolved in a way to complement and reinforce each other and to develop a creative dynamic. Collaborative relationships between the artists were formed and each became aware of the other's artistic ideas and the developing spatial and symbolic relationships between the various liturgical objects. Several concepts were developed for an altarpiece tapestry measuring 168 ins. high and 84 ins. wide. The watercolor designs were submitted for discussion within the renaissance committee and for approval by the project team. Following selection of the "Evensong" design, a full-scale cartoon guideline for the loom was produced, the yarn was imported from Scandinavia and Australia and the tapestry was delivered well before the overall construction project was completed.