January: Genesis

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3


For years I’ve had a stitchery started but not finished. I had painted on fabric using dyes and water colors, and probably some acrylics (I don’t remember, it was that long ago), decided it would look good in a circle, then stitched it to a pale butter yellow linen background. My intention was to stitch these first words of Genesis around the outside. The year I started this I was just beginning to explore creativity and into an area not commonly taught in fine art schools, fiber art. My teacher was Jane Febock Mihas, who was an instructor at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I think this would have been 1976-77 or so, and before I became a Christian. I was still a practicing Catholic and studying the Bible was not something I had spent a lot of time doing. We had prayer books, catechisms, and the rosary. Still, I knew those words. It seemed to me that the God of creativity, who made the world, was most certainly mine.
I still have this unfinished piece. I AM going to get to it. My work will be certainly colored by the days since it’s first creation, what’s in my head and heart, and my hands. In fact, we have moved 10 times since then, and 17, no 18 times since my husband and I married.
The Sistine Chapel was completed in 1480 and the ceiling was painted by Michalangelo over the course of several years and completed in 1512, 498 years ago. It’s endured, with careful conservation, it can still be seen. I wonder what Michalangelo thought about how long his art would last? Did he expect it to be cared for and viewed for this long? I am in awe and overwhelmed at the thought that something I create might last that long too. In fact it stopped me from creating for a significant amount of time. Fabric and fiber only have a certain lifespan so I feel better knowing that for some reason. I am uncomfortable with the idea of creating something for all time and all generations. Who am I?
God created the universe and everything in it. My heavenly days I marvel at the expanse of that greatness. It fills me with awe and wonder.
I am enjoying these first chapters in scripture describing the creation, but oh, how much they leave out! There were no words for our early biblical ancestors that could possibly capture the enormous creativity of our God. Our imaginations are the only view for now. Later in heaven there will be understanding. I am too awed to want to know now. I can wait.
Art above is from the Sistine Chapel, “Day 1 From Chaos to Light” 1511 Michalangelo



About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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