Art and Spirituality

Tyler DeLong

I’ve started work on this cross, slowly pushing myself towards doing more relief carving. There is a peace that has come with each movement of the knife and gouge—peace that is needed, and for which I am grateful.

For a long time, I couldn’t bring myself to work on a drawing, print, or carving of Christ. There is always a sense that whatever is brought forth will not fully convey that which is sought. But I believe that art, however incomplete and wanting, can be to us a material grace—a grace which pervades imperfection and becomes an offering not of itself in isolation, but alongside all of Creation being drawn into the divine life.

So, let us make. Not because we think ourselves to be artists that create beauty, but because we are pulled along (many times limping) and can do nothing else. We bear the image of a God that creates, thus it is true to our nature to do the same—Christ himself took bread and wine (both of which were fruit of the earth and work of human hands), blessed them, and Created a new world in the midst of the previous (and the two were related). It is here, in this act of making, that we encounter vulnerability, humility, and glory to God, a radical Grace. Carved wall cross, in process.

Made in basswood. Based on a drawing I did, itself a compilation of many other (much better) works not my own.

Tyler DeLong is an editor at Cherubim Press and woodworker and owner of Eremos_workshop.

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