The Paschal Mystery

Submitted by Judy Dioszegi

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Client: St. Anne Catholic Church

Location: Sunbury, Victoria, Australia

Completion date: 2014

Project Team

Artist

Judy Dioszegi

Judy Dioszegi, designer

Artist

Debbie Vicini

Judy Dioszegi, designer

Architect

Randall Lindstrom

Randall Lindstrom, M. Arch. Consultant

Client

Kevin McIntosh

St. Anne Catholic Church

Industry Resource

Tony Tanti

Nextgen Group Holdings Pty Ltd

Overview

This seven panel tapestry reflects the theme of the Paschal Mystery. The narrow color panel next to the Crucifix changes out for the different liturgical seasons…green, blue, purple and white: Ordinary Time, Advent, Lent and Celebratory. In total there are ten panels which vary in widths from 1'6″ to 4' wide x 9' long and cover approximately 185 square feet. It includes 120 individually cut pieces and is constructed of various fibers including silk, wool, cotton and man-made fabrics, which are carefully placed and sewn to the background following a paper pattern to ensure accurate follow through.

Goals

The project began in 2013 with a reconvening of the committee to guide the updating of the interior of St. Anne’s Church. The task was to consider ways in which the expanse of the brick wall behind the sanctuary might become less of a blank space and more eye-catching. In the center of the wall is a brick round tower, split by a stained glass window reaching upward. The challenge became how to integrate artwork with the existing window. A complementary solution needed to tell a story, provide inspiration and work with the surrounding strong architectural elements. The final design concept included tapestries that would begin at the Crucifix and move across the wall to the left-hand side. To achieve this, the design moves from the dark blues, greys, and black of the sky at the Crucifixion, interspersed with lightning-like flashes of white in all directions, downward and across to the left. Passing the window, the design sweeps upward and the colors lighten, suggesting the Resurrection. The horizontal arms of the Crucifix continue across all panels unifying the belief that there can be no Resurrection without the Crucifixion...communicated abstractly through design, shape and color.

Process

While it may have been possible to fit windows or other artefacts into the walls, it was considered these would lessen the integrity of the great curtain walls. After discussion with the architect, Randall Lindstrom, it was decided to investigate some form of liturgical banners. The committee researched church tapestries both in Melbourne and overseas. Proposals were submitted and upon receiving the commission, dialogue began between artists Judy and Debbie, Fr. Kevin McIntosh and the committee, as well as the architect and contractor. Architectural drawings were shared and design concepts traveled via email as a vision started to emerge. Revealing the Paschal Mystery in an abstract manner became the design concept. Nearer completion, details were finalized with the contractor and building engineer, and Judy flew to Australia to supervise the installation. Careful spacing with attention to minimizing the mechanics of suspension became the focus. Seemingly simple, the installation required a twenty foot scaffolding and flawless accuracy to ensure proper placement, especially surrounding the Crucifix. The newly installed tapestries were dedicated on May 4, 2014 during Sunday mass. Judy spoke about the design process and fabrication and thanked those who helped bring the project to fruition.

Additional Information

Presenting the concept of the Paschal Mystery in an abstract manner allowed us an opportunity for reflection and open-minded designing. This color palette and design sensibility was a departure from our typical approach of analogous color runs and smooth follow-through of all lines. The lighting and architecture completed the circular surround implied by the upward sweeping lines...an unexpected gift.