Francis of Assisi
Once I arrived in Assisi the intensity, beauty, and sacrifice in the lives of Frances and Claire became ever more apparent. The inspiration of their remarkable passion was the antidote to my despair. In a few weeks I had overcome my discouragement with humanity. It is a profound experience to encounter the strength of their influence and see the artefacts of their lives maintained in this famous medieval city.
A visitor can find the clothing of St. Francis and Saint Claire in the crypts of their great basilicas. Their particular garments are available for viewing. It was encountering these personal Items that inspired the Francis Robe project. It became my intention to create a symbolic garment as a tribute to Frances. It needed to be slightly larger than life, just as he was. The material used was paper, some recycled but predominantly hand-made plant paper by Angelika Saunders. She uses flowers, vegetables and trees. These materials were chosen as Francis, even in the early 13th C., had a keen sense of environmental degradation and advocated passionately for environmental protection.
The sculpture developed a pattern of patches from the natural plant colours, maps where Frances walked, combined with designs from computer motherboards. The latter was to suggest the contemporary relevance of Franciscan philosophy.
The lining of the robe allowed space for Francis's 'Canticle of the Sun' and selected quotations. As example 'First do the necessary, then what is possible, and before long you will find you are doing the impossible', 'all the darkness in the world cannot diminish the light of one candle' and 'it is giving we truly receive. Medieval walnut ink was used for this calligraphy.
It must be noted that the creation of this large sculpture could not of been accomplished without the kind and generous support of Marina Merli and her family who dedicate themselves to assisting the international family of artists who have the privilege of being in residence at Studio Ginestrelle
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