Biblical Lace is a hand-knit wedding veil and wearable artist book about the Church and the female body. Both a prison and a lair, a tomb and a temple, a state of transition and transformation, the work situates itself as more than a mere symbol – the veil itself is the “Christian body”. The wool is the skin, the hair, the textile that embodies our memory and sensation. The narrative of the veil text alternates between a directive of the body and a directive of faith and is meant to show the complexity, tension and conflict of my relationship with the church, and in turn, the relationship between the church and the bodies of other women. Playing on the historical role of knitting, the idea that “idleness approaches sinfulness” is refuted and conflated. If, according to Christian theology, sin is hosted in the body then how can the productivity of our bodily hands be used to repel sinfulness? These and other questions result from examining the many co-existing conflicts within Biblical Lace, the least of which is the subverted relationship of comfort between lace and flesh, between the body and the church.
Moreover, by engaging a community of hand-knitters to help create the veil, this collaborative activity becomes a physical manifestation of meaning. Laboring by hand to contribute panels of text-lace, individual knitters add their voice and perspective to the message of Biblical Lace – emphasizing the connections we share, with each other and with the church, both directly and indirectly.
Love the Lord with all your body, heart, mind and soul.
Give the Lord your body and he will give you his.
Love him with your mouth, with your blood, with your fingers.
Perfume your hair, tattoo words of the Bible on your lips and offer a kiss.
Give him your body. Give it. Give.
Your warm tongue is a missionary.
Your breathing is a prayer.
Inhale the spirit and run. Sweat. Run.
You are free, you are bound.
Martyr yourself with a paper cut, with a splinter, with a needle.
Your blood, your skin, for his.
Menstruate for him, like he bled for you.
Surrender your tears.
Tithe the cells of your being. Give it. Give.
You are the Church, one body.
Pierce the spirit and Bleed. Eat. Bleed.
Your sacrifice is a prayer, an offering, salvation.
You are free, you are bound.
Helen Alcantara-Lines – Chicago, IL
Jen Blair – Chicago, IL
Kristy Boyer – Chicago, IL
Roberta Bragg – Wauconda, IL
Stacy Brown – Santa Fe, NM
Maria C. H. Burke – Milwaukee, WI
Allison M. Cantwell – Riverside, CA
Angela Claud – Chicago, IL
Melanie D. Clemmer – Dallas, TX
Anne Costley – Mont Clare, PA
Kelli Cousins – Chicago, IL
B Dwyer – Peoria, IL
Vivian L. Johnson – Chicago, IL
Margaret Powell King – Catawba, NC
Allison Klay – Tampa, FL
Alex J. Klein – St. Louis, MO
Donna Knight- Chicago, IL
Amy J Lenertz – Minot, ND
Rebecca L. Liedke – Chicago, IL
Carol V. Lunn – Savannah, GA
Erin K. Marshall – Chicago, IL
Susan J. Monroy – New York City, NY
Erica Moore – Chicago, IL
Alice Muciek – Oak Park, IL
Kate Thomas O’Gara – East Rutherford, NJ
Cathy Ryan, La Crosse, WI
Brooke Sales-Lee – Lafayette, CA
Jax R. Sanders – Ann Arbor, MI
Barbara J. Schwartz – Richford, NY
Patricia Scott – Nashville, TN
Gail Dubriske Secore – Keene, NH
Amy S. Semifero – Allen, TX
Jessica Ellen Sewell – Princeton, NJ
Erinn Starnes – Crowley, TX
Julie R. Stauffer – Chicago, IL
Rohn Strong – Raleigh, NC
Eleanor E. Templeton – New York, NY
Jessica Thompson – Seattle, WA
Lynett T. Tran – Reseda, CA
Shelley Trowbridge – Virginia Beach, VA
Lynda Walker – Winter Park, FL
This project is partially supported by a grant from the Albert P. Weisman Award, a private trust affiliated with Columbia College Chicago.
This project was first exhibited at the 2012 Interdisciplinary Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Center for Book & Paper Arts on Columbia College Chicago campus from April 20 – May 17, 2012.
Documentation from the project is represented at the Weisman Exhibit at Columbia College Chicago from September 4 – October 19, 2012.
The veil will also be re-installed as part of the exhibition, Blessed are the Artists: Spirituality & Religion in Contemporary Arts at Caldwell College, NJ from October 11 – November 10, 2012.