[P.S. Bink sent me this note after I posted this: "Click here for the WCCO Web page that shows me putting up the Pentecost banner. I'm actually in 3 pictures toward the end of their slide show. It's kind of fun...but the photos are really disappointing... I mean we amateuers could take better photos...and have!"
And Fresca replies: Plus they missed the best part: the whole thing crashing down!]
For Easter this year, I helped artist-in-residence Bink (pictured here) create banners for the Basilica.
We spent a day gluing Chinese joss paper into four panels to hang in each corner of the church.
It was more of a chore because a lot of the paper we had to use had mistakenly been thrown out, so it was all crumpled. (Not like pictured here, which was new stuff.)
The crinkled paper ended up making the panels much more textural. Once in place in the church, they caught and reflected the light better too.
The double-sided panels were somewhat like the fabric Romulans use to make uniforms for starship personnel.
Here (below) are two of them in place.
They hang from iron beams that raise and lower on electric winches. The gold paper twists in the air currents.
I was such a champion gluer, Bink asked me to help create the installation for the center of the church for Pentecost this Sunday, May 11.
I said yes. Because I love Bink.
Pentecost is from the Greek for "fiftieth day." Christians celebrate it 7 weeks after Easter Sunday.
Bink designed a giant joss-paper construction that would hang from these iron circles (below).
Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the followers of Jesus, recorded in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts.
The descent of the Spirit is described:
"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them."
So Bink wanted this center hanging to be like flame coming down.
Here I am, below, gluing on more tongues of fire.
Every so often, Bink would go and raise the iron circle-frame with a remote control thingy.
We each worked six-plus hours on the first day.
At the end of the 2nd day, we were almost done.
When Bink raised the huge paper cone, the winch jerked sharply, and one of the supporting paper arms ripped off the frame.
I stepped into the center of the piece, to help fold the bottom inwards as Bink lowered the frame back down so she could reattach the ripped arm.
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were...."
--Acts 2:2, describing the events of the original Pentecost
The whole thing ripped off the frame and came crashing down around me.
There came laughter from the tabernacle.
Was it Jesus? No, it was Ryan, arranging the altar flowers (below).
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Indeed, we uttered words we do not usually use.
…Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Bink said that if she were twenty, she would have been in despair. But, middle-aged and used to art disasters, she just sighed and started to repair the thing. This time we reinforced the arms with more paper, glue, and pins.
Lo and behold, when the thing went up, the arms held.
And the formerly straight-sided cone had gained a wonderful organic look, much more like fire!
Bink said she liked it much better, and it also matches the original panels with their crinkled look better.
And Mary looked down from the top of the baldacchino (below) and thought,