Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sacred Art at St. Michael's Instute, Ender's Island, Mystic, CT

After arriving on Sunday, finding our rooms, and unpacking, our week began with a meet and greet in the livingroom of the main house. Our instructor was Valerie Weilmuenster and Sister E. would fill the role of spiritual advisor. The class was Advanced Manuscript Illumination and Gilding.

Our days were nicely paced giving us time to feed body, mind, and soul. We met for a buffet breakfast, and Mass was said each morning at 9 AM for those who wanted to participate. Our hands were blessed on the first morning. After Mass, class met in the spacious classroom. Valerie had gilded gorgeous name tags for us. We took our name tags and staked out our work stations.

Each morning, we met in a circle at the back of the classroom or outside in a gazebo because the weather was too beautiful to stay indoors. Sister E. led us in meditation. Our topics for the week were beauty and the Spirit that moves us.

In the advanced class, we would work on our own projects with help and guidance from Valerie. Mornings were spent reviewing topics from the beginning class. On the first morning, we mixed a basic paint pallette in red, green, and blue and then mixed a dark, basic pallette in the same colors. On Tuesday we took sheets of 23K, loose leaf, gold, gum arabic, and a little water and ground shell gold (paint) in a time consuming but oh so worth it tradition. Valerie also showed us her layout and design process as she approached a project.

The class broke at noon for a buffet lunch and resumed at 1:30 PM. We worked on our projects until 5 PM and ended class with a meditation circle. After a sumptuous dinner and dessert, we could go back to the classroom and work until late in the evening. I never made it past 8 PM. I was pretty much done in and in bed by 9:30.

On Friday, since one of our classmates had to leave early, morning meditation included a blessing with oil by Sister E.

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