Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 25, 2002
Taking faith's path
Fabric artwork depicts RCIA transformation
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
At first glance, the quilt called Journey appears to be a simple artistic depiction of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church building.
But take a second look at this fabric artwork by professional quilter Suzanne Biamonte, and you can see symbols of the Catholic faith.
The parish commissioned the creation to recognize the faith journey made by those seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. So the quilt was hung in the Church following the Rite of Election.
The main body of the 66-by-44 inch quilt is a fractured landscape of the church building itself. Shafts of light inspiring a surreal feeling of the light of Christ bathe the building, creating an ambiance of a welcoming community.
Seasonal colour changes as you move left to right. The spring, summer, fall and winter symbolize a journey of faith marked by reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
"Just the process of thinking through how I wanted to interpret the fact that they are on a journey was very challenging," Biamonte said.
She began planning the quilt in June 2000 and started work in January 2001.
The creation was completed in mid-March, just in time for the Palm Sunday celebration.
The artist prepared three schematic drawings and three different techniques and then submitted them to the parish council for approval.
By using a photo of the Church to draw the image and incorporating different fabric textures and techniques, Biamonte was able to show bricks, roof and windows appear as they actually are.
As one searches for Catholic symbols, the left side of the quilted sky reveals the presence of the Holy Spirit through rain drops symbolizing baptismal waters flowing into outstretched wings of a dove.
Palm leaves stitched into the midnight sky represent the beginning of the Holy Week, which ushers the elects and candidates to their journey of full communion with the Catholic Church. A silhouette of two persons embracing each other depicts peace and acceptance.
At the far right, the 41-year-old artist created a silhouette of Christ walking with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, a Scripture story integral with the Easter conversion story and the RCIA.
Names of the elect and candidates radiate from the border
As a crafter and Catholic, Biamonte had the wisdom to draw on her faith to create this spiritual vision.
"I learned to trust the Spirit moving through me, to pray about it and think of the Scripture readings relevant to the RCIA themes."
As she was working on the different parts and symbols she wanted to incorporate into the design, Biamonte wrote corresponding Scripture passages on small pieces of paper. "So as I am seeing the visuals of what I wanted to do, I'm also seeing inspirational words that reminded me of my own journey."
The mother of three, Biamonte took her own RCIA pilgrimage 15 years ago. She found the commission to be a labour of love.
"It was very moving, because I never really worked on a piece in a way that enriches my own faith and allows expression for such enrichment."
Outside honours are already being bestowed on Journey. Canadian Quilters' Association has it as one of the main features of the Best of Alberta show in the Butterdome, May 20-26.