Throwback . . . 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 but minus wings. 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.
I have a small collection of vintage religious collectibles & artifacts, the devotional & ecclesial, not for any specific religious affiliation or significance but because of the beauty of these pieces, their artistic style, their uniqueness. This salvaged angel is a good example.
Of course, being schooled in the world of Catholicism, the religious history & significance of these items is not lost on me. While I’m able to view pieces in their historical context as religious works, depicting Catholic, or other religious or personal teachings, to be respected for what they represent in theology, not in themselves, I don’t have them for that reason.
I’m sure there are people who collect these kinds of objects because of a genuine affiliation with the Divine. Not me. I can view them as purely secular items not affiliated with anything divine or spiritual, without any religious connotation.
I use them just as they are, as creative works of art, as unique statement pieces. Some have there own aesthetic beauty like this angel. Some have a serene or mystic quality. A piece might have such intricate beauty that I’m prompted to seek out the creator, the artist.
Perhaps there is a serenity for some people in reviving such items for everyday use, in having them around.
There are no rules, secrets, creeds or dogmas about my having these kinds of things. As I say, I grew up with the stuff. I was intimately familiar with Catholic icons & statues like Jesus, Mary & St. Joseph et al. We had St. Therese, we had St. Christopher medals, saints medals, scapulas. prayer books & holy pictures. We had cruciifixes of all shapes & sizes. All the Catholic paraphernalia. Indeed, I am thoroughly versed in Catholic iconography.
It is not unusual nowadays to find new or vintage religious items used in home decor. It could be Madonnas, angel statues, crucifixes or other religious themed items all available online or in vintage, antique or collectibles shops or at the local op-shop. They are now reproduced in myriad ways for home use. Gift, novelty & home decor shops stock them. Etsy is full of religious items & statues many looking rustic, antiquated & worn. Jeanne d’ Arc Living (& it’s stockists worldwide) carries various Madonna figurines. I have seen concrete Madonna & angel statues in various home gardens & outdoor settings.
Finally, & most interestingly, it seems the people who are passionate about religious collecting are often not Catholic & not religious.