It was so big, the artist hadn’t actually seen the whole project until she unveiled it at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
Karen Brodie (Archibald) created a 14-foot fabric banner, which was commissioned by a church in Arvada, Colorado.
“They gave me three ideas for the piece,” said Brodie, who has been making fabric art for 20 years. “One was elements of nature, one was inclusive, and one was rejoice. But I didn’t realize they were separate ideas, so I actually combined all those ideas into one. It worked out perfect though, because it really gave me some parameters.”
It took Brodie 129 hours of labour to complete the project, which she designed in October. She has been working on it ever since, and decided she wanted to invite some friends out to the church to see her unveil the piece.
“I just have a table I work on, that is about 4 by 8 feet of plywood. The banner was very rolled up throughout the process, and that is partly why I wanted to come (to the church) because I needed to see it myself,” she said.
“Other than rolled out on my living room carpet, I hadn’t seen the whole thing.”
In her 20 years with this medium, Brodie has made countless treasures, some of which hang in St. Paul’s Anglican Church today.
In fact, this banner is not even the largest piece she has ever made, although it is the tallest. She has made a few that were shorter by a couple feet, but they were much wider.
This project however, was a little bit different than what she has done in the past.
“I normally only work in natural fibres, but there’s a skylight in this church in Colorado, so for the first time I had to consider the fading element. So it’s all solid colours and synthetic materials,” she said.
The multi-coloured banner brings together elements of nature, such as young saplings, old growth, bodies of water, as well as blossoms of spring and leaves of fall. It also has the inclusiveness of the whole world, enveloped in open arms.
“I started with the idea of the world, and then there are arms around the world, which brings in the idea of inclusiveness. It’s like holding the world,” said Brodie.
With this project, as with others, Brodie had to be conscious of the colour schemes in the commissioning church. She was given carpet and fabric samples, but since the banner will remain in the church all year, she also had to incorporate all seasonal colours.
“I always try to make sure there’s a large palette. If it’s green, then I make sure there’s lots of greens so that it doesn’t matter if it’s exact,” said Brodie.
The church in Colorado found Brodie through her website, as many of her clients do. So the first time they see the banner in person will be when Brodie rolls it up and mails it to Colorado.
It may seem nerve-racking sending such a valuable item through the mail, but Brodie insists she has much experience with it, and has never had a problem.
To see other examples of Brodie’s work, go to www.brodiedesigns.com.