It takes a few eggs to hatch an altar

altar14 copy

My altar from last year titled “Illumination”

Celebration Circle’s annual invitational event, One People, Many Paths: The Sacred Art of Altars, is a personal favorite. It’s a challenge to take one of 50 plain wooden boxes and transform it into a personal artistic statement with meaning, maybe some humor, and a visual appeal that will encourage people to bid on it to benefit this very cool group of spiritual creatives. Last year’s altars show the amazing variety of artful offerings.

My altar for this year started with some eggs from the next-door neighbor’s chickens. I loved their shape and texture, plus there’s always the notion of what will hatch. When my friend Zippy found a nest that seemed made for the altar box, it started to come together. Want to see? Here’s how I made my altar titled “Brood, Hatch, Fly.”

Lyn Belisle "Brood, Hatch, Fly - wood, earthenware, plexiglass, found objects

Lyn Belisle “Brood, Hatch, Fly – wood, earthenware, plexiglass, found objects

Here is the quote that inspired “Brood, Hatch, Fly”:

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” C.S. Lewis

You can see all of the Celebration Circle altars (and bid on them) at the Santikos Bijou Theater in Wonderland Mall from September 1 – 30, 2015. Now go hatch and fly.


Simple altars and luminous objects

The completed piece

“The Guardian of the Golden Bough” – Altar Assemblage, Lyn Belisie, 2013

Celebration Circle’s “One People, Many Paths: Sacred Art of Altars” exhibit opens on September 1st, and I am ready! Last year, when I was invited to participate in this wonderful event, I struggled with several ideas, including putting a Spirit Doll inside the box, which, unfortunately, made it look like a coffin. Yikes. My (finally) finished altar from last year was called The Guardian of the Golden Bough (left). It was a good solution and popular with the silent auction bidders.

This year’s altar, “Luminosity,” came together almost all by itself – I found a small branch in the driveway as I was bringing in the bare altar box and propped it against the side. Perfect – and after that, everything just came together, including the quote mounted on plexiglass which says, “It is when the ordinary becomes luminous that we are transformed.” The altar is white, simple and luminous, made from ordinary objects.  Simple is good. I am happy!


“Luminosity” – Altar Assemblage, Lyn Belisle 2014

But I often wonder why some pieces, such as last year’s altar, are such a struggle to make, and others, like this year’s, seem to fly into your hands as if they knew they were supposed to be there. It’s a mystery. Let me know if you have the answer.

DSCN3240PS – No Friday Freebie this week, but if you are around, don’t miss tomorrow’s Show and Tell at the Studio from 2-4 – it’s definitely free, and you’ll get all kinds of free tips and techniques from the participating artists. The resident chef will be there, too, to show you a cool culinary trick. Hope to see you at Show and Tell!

Meanwhile, back at the altar . . .

When last we saw our altar box for Celebration Circle’s Silent Auction, it had a not-too-happy Spirit Doll lying in it, and it looked pretty creepy. Sigh. But I *knew* the moss was the right thing – so I kept thinking and working, and then I remembered a graduation gift I made for my grandson. It was a wall sculpture of the Celtic god, Cernunnos. I liked him because he was kind of a mystery, open to possibilities (actually, that goes for my grandson, too :)). Using Cernunnos as an inspiration, I am working on my Altar gift to Celebration Circle. It’s not quite finished, but here he is – The Guardian of the Sacred Grove with his little bird buddy, still a work in progress.


If you want to see it finished, come to the Bijou Theatre Gallery between Sept.1 and Sept 30th and view all 50 of these wonderful Altars. The closing reception and Silent Auction is on September 30th at 6:00. With any luck, you can take home the Guardian of the Sacred Grove or another cool altar to grace your own place of creative belonging!


The empty altar

Last week, I received this really nice letter from a group that I admire tremendously – Celebration Circle.

Dear Lyn: At the recommendation of many mutual friends, we are writing to invite you to create a hand-made altar for the Celebration Circle’s annual art exhibit, One People, Many Paths: The Sacred Art of Altars and our tenth year of presenting this exhibit and silent auction at the Bijou Theater September 1 – 30. You will be one of 50 artists to receive a handcrafted wooden box to use as the basis for creating a small “altar” focused on whatever matters to you – personally, artistically and/or spiritually – employing whatever media and/or embellishments your vision requires. The completed piece is due no later than Sunday, August 11th. 

the empty altar box

the empty altar box

What could I say, but “of course!” Now comes the challenge. I looked at the empty altar box for a while and remembered that I had some sheets of weathered moss that came off a wall planter.

. . . .lined with moss

. . . .lined with moss

On they went to line the altar – glue, glue. So far, so good – then I thought “Aha, a Spirit Doll! – I love making those” So I popped one in from the last workshop. Oops – the whole thing instantly turned into a moss lined coffin. Not good. Back to the drawing board – will keep you updated :). All suggestions gracefully accepted!

. . .oh, no! She looks dead! Oops. Bad idea.

. . .oh, no! She looks dead! Oops. Bad idea.