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  • Kim Van Sandt

My Favorite Project (ever)

I was once asked what art work or project was my favorite one? I thought for a second, but only for a second. I have made lots of crosses of driftwood and stone. Some cooler than others and for different reasons. From 4 inches to 20 or 30 inches tall, I have made crosses, with narrow sticks, with broad flat boards, lots of crosses. Like this one, worn and weathered wood, usually wrapped with twine, adding to the ruggedness. But this one, this one is special for a few reasons.

First of all, this piece kind of fell together.

I usually work in series. It becomes a kind of rough assembly line process, beginning with matching pieces of wood into pairs, by size, color, shape, weathered effects, etc. So I match pairs, change my mind, switch wooden partners back and forth, till I get the best possible combos.

As I was matching, my attention was drawn to the other containers of larger pieces of wood. And once my attention was drawn there, two of the larger pieces just went together right away. As usual though, I doubted. I thought they didn't quite match and separated them looking for other matches. But of course, they belonged together, and no better match could be found in my stash, so they were drawn back together again, as they should have been in the first place.

Another reason this piece so special to me,

is because it is artistically dramatic! The drama fascinates me. You see, artistically, I am not naturally bold. I'm quiet, subdued, and introverted, and sometimes my art is too. The beach fits me because my findings are so often neutral or subdued as well. So the boldness had little to do with me, nature brought the drama in the worn, weathered textures of the wood. And by 'nature' I really mean God. You might think me a bit intense of a believer, but I really don't think very much happens in nature that God is unaware of. So if you look close you will notice the wood is thick, but so extremely worn, that within the grains, there are holes that go all the way through the boards. Now the surface grain

of the wood is full of ridges, making it extra rugged (which nicely enhances the 'old rugged cross' vibe), but the holes really kick it up a notch. These grooves that gradually break into tunnels through the wood give the the effect of a brush stroke. A brush, swiping down, then across. It is almost as if the wood itself is the paint, issued from a brush far more powerful than mine.

All of this made it special and precious to me in appearance, but that isn't the best part. I use a lot of different symbols, shapes and forms, including hearts, boats, angels, animals and such, but the cross is most special of all those.

This particular piece seems to, better than any cross I've made, express the combination of pain and tortured beauty that is inherent in the symbol of the cross that Jesus died on. I've heard some people wonder how such a symbol of torture could be so beautiful and not just awful? But I have learned that there are many things men (and women) have done over the years, awful things, that we intend for evil. Where often we have left an awful wake behind us, but God came a long, changed it all, and used it for his good. And this cross is one of those changes, where Jesus died the death I deserved, took the punishment I earned, and God used the sacrifice of his perfect life to cancel out the debt I owed. You see, the power of the cross is not in the wood or the symbolism, the power of the cross is that it is empty -- death and sin were defeated. The one who died on it rose again!

And if I believe in the power of the cross and the love and forgiveness God offers me, I have eternal life with him in heaven. And so this beauty of an old rugged cross means so, so very much to me. And to be allowed to represent it in this fashion, with God's help, just makes it so precious to me.

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