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Nature's Temple - Cindy Brendzel

For this piece I was inspired by a photograph I took while hiking a trail along the Pacific coast of Washington State with my sister and a friend. I waited until they were just coming in sight of the ocean, and in a pool of sunlight before I took the picture.

The view from the forest trail was breathtaking. My senses were completely overwhelmed by the fragrance of the pines, the sunlight on the water, and the sound of the wind through the trees. It was like I was experiencing it for the first time. I was reminded that it was John Muir (1838-1914) who spoke of experiences in the natural world bringing a special sense of spiritual joy not found through any other activity. He wrote, “No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord.” To him nature was the best church.

I had the photo printed on fabric, but I also wanted to go beyond the reality of the picture and try to create a

more spiritual quality to my piece. I cut and reassembled several pieces of the photo making it larger, and added hand-dyed fabric to give the finished work a more surreal look. I decided to cut out one of the bushes at the end if the path because it distracted from the two walkers. Then I added vertical pieces of white organza in spaces between the trees to give the allusion of marble columns from an ancient temple. I swapped out the the path for a more colorful green and purple fabric. I imaged a magic carpet through the trees. And I added a layer of pink under the forest canopy because I really liked the idea. It is all stitched down with free-motion.

The finished piece is 24 x 31 inches. I am happy with the results.

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