Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wonderful Cross

Have you ever seen a piece of art that stopped you in your tracks?  I don't know about you, but I like to browse through Etsy to see some of the amazing work created by other artists.  I'm an artistic omnivore - I like all media and most styles.  It's not always "high end" art that catches my eye, either.  Often it's smaller pieces, done with passion and intensity, or grace and sensitivity, or both.  Pieces with a story to tell; pieces that make me think; pieces that strike me for their craftsmanship or their complexity.  The cross above, and others in this shop, caught my eye on several levels, and I wanted to share it with you.

 A month or so ago I ran across the shop smithsanders.  It's a small shop, run by two ladies from Ashland, Oregon.  One of the co-artists of the shop runs a SASH support group (Sexual Assault Survivors' Healing).  The survivors support group uses art as part of their therapy, to help them on their journey through healing from their traumatic experiences.  Smithsanders creates these crosses to share their ministry to women recovering from sexual assault.  A portion of the proceeds from each jeweled cross is donated to the SASH support group through the Jackson County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team).

I've been interested in the symbol of the Cross for many years, from early in my Christian life.  I've used it as a motif in my own art, and I'm interested in how other artists approach and use this potent symbol.  What struck me with these crosses is their simultaneous beauty and brutality.  Those nails!  They're huge!  When you look at listings for their crosses, you realize that the nails used vary in length from 4" to 8" and more.  Eight inches is easily as long as the actual nails used for a Roman crucifixion.  And yet, here they have been transformed into something beautiful.  The symbol of death is also the symbol of life. 

So, I hope you take a moment to really look at these crosses.  The wire-wrapped bead work turns each cross into a jeweled reminder of hope, and shows how beauty and healing can rise out of pain and death.

(All photos copyrighted by smithsanders and used by permission.)