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  • Helms Jarrell

Which Side Are You On?

In the summer, an interior designer contacted me about their office downsizing and wanted to know whether I would like any of their samples. Of course, I said yes. I walked away with fabric squares, little colored plastic things, and stacks of mismatched tile. Like most artists, I said to myself, "I can use that to make something one day" and then promptly stored the items away on a shelf. When the Artist Theologian Residency began, I didn't know what I'd end up making, so I toted all sorts of things over to my temporary studio at Myers Park Baptist Church. Like most artists, my ambitions were high. I took supplies for painting, printmaking, sketching, sewing, jewelry making, and more. Along with all the "normal" supplies, I also toted the little colored plastic things and the fabric squares over to the art studio space.


The first few days were spent nesting. I moved around some furniture, placed things on shelves, and started unpacking supplies. In a moment of whimsy, I sorted the fabric squares into color families and then unloaded the plastic thingies and lined them up to count them. 2700 pieces total. I laid them all out on a table and let them sit there. Maybe they'd tell me what they were for if they were out where I could not ignore them.


After a few more days, I lined up the fabric squares across three tables and started mapping out of plan for Daylight's Parament. About that same time, I decided to rearrange the plastic thingies according to colors. Once the colors were sorted and arranged, the plan came to me. I would make a deconstructed stained glass window.


Each plastic square had a printed brand on them. I had to scrape off the brand name and punch four holes, on in each corner. Then, I sanded every and polished them. I joined pieces to each other using jump rings and devised a system of dowel rods on which the panels could hang. Each panel hangs three inches at a distance from the it's anterior panel.


I repurposed a found object- a brown particle board TV shelf-into the stained glass case. This required demolishing a part of the case, cutting plexiglass, trimming out the case, and painting it. The back panel of plexiglass is set in a way that it can be removed so that the case can be moved without the stained glass panels inside of it. That way, they do not get damaged from transportation.


The piece has a companion grid that guides participants to engage with the piece in an interactive way. The companion grid instructs participants to pick a favorite color and discover the meaning of that color on the grid. One side of the piece has a particular grid. The other side of the piece has a contrasting grid. The piece encourages participants to consider from what lens they choose to see the world.


This piece is entitled "Which Side are You On?" It will be on display at the "Invoking the Divine" Installation, March 28-April 4, 2021, outdoors at Myers Park Baptist Church. Afterwards, I will be looking for a place to host the piece. The piece is for sale. It is priced at $3000.

Approach the Stained Glass Window. Pick a color you like. Note the number of the color and search for the corresponding title on the grid. [featured on site] What do you notice about the title? Do you like it? Does it seem to fit the color? Does it fit you? Does it feel familiar? [Pause to notice.]

Now, walk around to the other side of the window. Pick a color you like. Note the number of the color and search for the corresponding title on the grid on this side. What do you notice about the title? Do you like it? Does it seem to fit the color? Does it fit you? Does it feel familiar? What is the difference between the two sides? Which do you prefer?


Scripture focus: 14 ‘Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’


Something to do with the family: Choose 5-10 colors. Find the assigned titles by using the grid. Write each individual title on a separate piece of paper. Use these papers as clues to play a game of charades or catch phrase. Talk about the titles after you’ve played the game.


An added bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XKMwWZVpPE&list=PL1LYzKmZGeCoU8i8kBD8XU6huQzR6cAjy&index=50

Listen to this music while you’re here.




These are some process pictures of the work as it was being created.



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