Faffing again . . . re-sharing one of my most treasured pieces in this beautiful angel, a piece of rustic salvage with delightful faded charm, a piece of chic & shabby statuary naturally aged & weathered.
I found the piece, just as you see, minus wings. Yes I added the wings.
What really draws me to the piece is the etched, worn & weathered patina, the serene, peaceful face, peeking out from under layers of dry, flaking dirty white paint.
Obviously old and weathered from being left to naturally distress, the angel brings a graciousness in its simple rustic beauty. You see it?
As soon as I saw the ol’ piece I fell in love! Never mind it had no wings.
Where did this beautiful piece once belong?
In a church . . .
A cemetery . . .
The school yard, a convent, an abbey . . .
A monastery . . .
A garden perhaps . . . somebody’s home . . .
Perhaps it’s a guardian angel watching over.
Is it a sad, forlorn angel?
Praying or perhaps weeping?
Raised eyes to heavenly souls?
The wings are new & came from Jeanne d’ Arc Living. They are made from a rust coloured wire frame that’s covered in very pale pink lace secured taut over the frame. They are light weight & sit perfectly at the back on the piece to which the original wings were attached.
Shabby rusty rosary beads with crucifix seen here on this patinated statue.
Are angels always barefoot? Do they wear shoes?
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an angel depicted with shoes or covered feet. I wonder, have angels even been seen wearing shoes, sandals, flip-flops or slippers?
The soft pink fabric flowers are new & bought locally.
I simply draped some cotton lace remnants over those clasped hands.
Chic. Shabby. Crusty.
The old mirror was red with bright yellow peeking through the paint layers when I found it.
Perhaps it’s an archangel, say, Gabriel, Raphael or Michael?
Indeed, I’m a product of a down-home Catholic childhood. Yep, I had the works & the topping too! My young life was very religious, full to the brim with saints, big saints, little saints, more saints, of angels & archangels, cherabim & seraphim & mighty choirs on high.
Who remembers the annual May procession at St. Aloysius at Sevenhill, that long walk to the crowning, the crowning of Mary in the grotto?
I remember, as part of the annual Nativity narrative at my Catholic convent school in Clare SA, one of us would be chosen to play the Archangel Gabriel. That’s THE Gabriel, the messenger of God, a very, very important Angel coveted by all. How proud I was when I was picked! Oh, yes, there I was at 10-11 years of age, a holy & blessed child, a certainty for Heaven, a winner in fact! 🙂
I remember being nervous & shaky as I waited in the wings to make my grand entrance even though I had just one or two lines! I was Gabriel. Yes, Gabriel, there to appear as God’s messenger, to inform the blessed Virgin Mary that she would be giving birth to Jesus, the son of God. This was live theatre! There I was in the thick of it playing a very important person, a top dog in the angel family. You bet I behaved as a good little Catholic girl. In my young Catholic mind I was in the presence of the Lord!
I can still remember the long white satin gown I wore & the clunky over sized wings. Of course it was mandatory for Gabriel to have big wings! Couldn’t have puny wings for Gabriel. He was the Archangel. And, yes I carried a white lily.
The wings were made of whatever we had or could find at the time – wood, cardboard, calico (muslin), white paint, feathers, lace, sequins, glitter, string & glue. Heavy & cumbersome, they were strapped to my back through my shoulders & waist. I felt those wings on my little back.
Statue etched by time & the elements.
As I say barefoot.
In the last few years I’ve acquired a small collection of vintage religious, ecclesial & devotional art, artifacts, paraphernalia. No, I’m not going through some sort of religious fervour or spiritual renewal! I simply enjoy the artistic, collectible and/or historical qualities of devotional pieces and artifacts. Things like pictures, images, clothing, bibles, prayers books, rosaries (prayer beads), crucifixes & all the accoutrements as well as statuary whether chalk-ware, plaster, wood or concrete … an eclectic potpouri of items. There are no rules, secrets, creeds or dogmas about collecting religious items & artifacts.
I’m sure some people collect these kinds of objects because of a genuine affiliation with the Divine. Some simply use them just as they are, as art, as statement pieces or as creative works of art without any religious connotation or spiritual meaning. Purely secular. I enjoy their aesthetic beauty. Sometimes it’s a serene or mystic quality. A piece might have such intricate beauty & exuberance I want to know who created it. Who was the original craftsman, the artist?
Indeed religious pieces can be viewed in their historical context as religious works, depicting Catholic, or other teachings, to be respected for what they represented in theology, not in themselves.
Some may have a mystic quality to some. I sure don’t wait for an intercession!
There is a serenity for some people in reviving such items for everyday use.
Indeed it is not unusual nowadays to find antique & vintage religious items used in home decor such as an old wood framed image of Mary on a wall or an antique crucifix.
While I personally prefer vintage items, it is not hard these days to find Madonna & angel statues, crucifixes & other religious themed items as they are reproduced in myriad ways for home use.
Garden centres sell them as do gift, novelty & home decor shops. Etsy is full of religious statues many made to look rustic, antiquated & worn.
Jeanne d’ Arc Living (& it’s stockists worldwide) carries various Madonna figurines. One only has to flip through its flagship magazine for a glimpse of the gorgeous Madonna statuary available.
I have come across Madonna & angel statues in various gardens & outdoor spaces around here. I have one in the garden.
Finally, & most interestingly, the people who are passionate about religious collecting are often not Catholic & not religious.