Joyeux Noel!

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment 
There He hath made Himself to His intent
 Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room? 
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He 
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
—John Donne, Nativity

Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display
Saved by His love, incessant we shall sing
Of angels and of angel-men the King 


An Advent Gathering of Thistle Birds

An Advent Gathering of Thistle Birds
Encaustic collage: beeswax, found paper, colored pencil, ink, oil pastel
11x14, 2009

Advent is a chance to intentionally gather our hearts, bodies and minds together. The twenty eight days of Advent give us time for a gradual collecting of all the disparate and disjoined parts of ourselves.  Advent traditionally signifies a coming, especially of something extremely important. But Advent can also mean a coming into to place, view, or being.  My prayer is that Advent would be a time for us to collect ourselves gradually toward the place that Christ makes for us; that Christ would come more beautifully into view; and that we would come more fully into being in Him.  Traveling through the gradual collecting of Advent better enables us to be present to the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas. We have more of ourselves to give to Him because of the slow work of gathering. The feast of Christmas is made better by the quiet, meditational days of Advent.
The center of this beeswax panel contains a Chi Rho surrounded by fourteen Goldfinches. Dating as early as the 2nd century, it is one of the oldest monograms representing Christ.  The Chi Rho is made up of the first two letters making the Greek word for Christ (khristos). Before it was used by Christians, pagan Greek scribes used the Chi Rho in place of the word “chreston” (which means “good”) to make note in the margins of important texts. Christians using the Chi Rho symbol would have been reminded of the pre-existent Christ and his earthly cruxifiction. According to the medieval bestiary, birds who are pictured with a Chi Rho symbolize human souls meditating on Christ. Goldfinches in particular represent victory over death. The goldfinch, which lives on a diet of thistles and thorns, reminds us of the suffering of Jesus and His resurrection. Sometimes called the Savior Bird, the goldfinch speaks to us of endurance, fruitfulness, and persistence.  Embeded under the Chi Rho are pages from the gospels telling of pivotal moments in the story of Christ: His entry into Jerusalem, His first miracle, the Last Supper , the Transfiguration, His resurrection, and His return. At the bottom of the panel lies Latin verse from the Advent hymn "O Come Emmanuel", translated: " Be our soul advent, disperse the dreadful clouds of night. Come!"  Purple and blue, the traditional colors of Advent, mark the panel as a reminder of the season in which it was made.  Beeswax holds all the layers together and works as a symbol for the word of God, which, in rabbinical schools, is said to taste like honey. As I painted on over 25 layers of wax, my soul got quiet and my heart centered. My prayer is that your journey of Advent be full of the same quiet, gathering work. 

Jesus, make us like a gathering of thistle birds.
Help us to gradually collect the pieces of ourselves around your coming, crucifixtion, and resurrection.
Be our soul Advent, our only place, our true view, our fullness of being.
Fill us with your honey, making us hold together inside your story.
Remind us of your goodness, you our amarantine Savior Bird.



Christmas Holiday Boutique Report

We had a great time this weekend at the Christmas Holiday Boutique. Drinking warm mulled cider, looking at all the great things the other artists brought, chatting with lovely customers, knitting scarves in the in-between times, listening to christmas music, what more could you want? Thanks so much  to everyone who came out, it was so much fun! Here are a few pictures from the day:

PS: For all you Austinites and others who could not make it out - I have some things left over from the sale:  ornaments, handwarmers, bookmarks, encaustics. We are coming to Austin for Christmas and I would love to hand-deliver some treasures for you! If you're out of town, but not in Austin, I am happy to put somethings in the mail for you this week before we leave.  Let me know if you're interested in purchasing any PhaedraJean ArtMachine creations. Thanks!


Christmas Holiday Boutique This Weekend! You're Invited!

In case you are in the triangle area I wanted to invite you to join myself and other local artists, this weekend, for a Holiday Gift Boutique and Open House. You will find one-of-a-kind works of art and craft for offer. So come and support your local artist, it's so much more fun than the mall!
We will have all kinds of treasures- watercolors, mohair scarves, Felt pocket handwarmers, jewelry, hand-bound books, hand-painted ornaments, cards, prints, hand-printed and calligraphed bookmarks, beeswax artworks, and paper ornaments, and a good deal more!

Mohair Scarves - $32.00

Snacks and friendly faces will be on hand. Do stop by on either of these days:

Saturday: December 5th 1-6 pm
Sunday: December 6th 1-5 pm
704 Greenwood Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

 Fragrant Pocket Handwarmers: Small - $7, Large - $9


Artists include
Skyler McGee - visual art
Phaedra Taylor (Art Machine Studios)
Lisa Harrington - jewelry
Rachel Freyer (Paper and Pearls boutique)
Eleatta Diver - visual art
Andrew Stillwell - sculpture

(The piece on the right has already sold)

Small Encaustic Artworks - $30 - $50

Hand Painted Ornaments - $3.50 or 3 or $10

 Paper and Beeswax Ornaments - $6 for a bag of 7 (2 large, 3 medium, 2 small)

 Hand Printed and Calligraphed Bookmarks - $3 - $5

(sorry this image is so yellow!)
 Framed Linocut Prints and Original Watercolors - $150.00 - $475.00