Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Buy More Art: music, poetry and activities for Advent from Steve Bell, Malcolm Guite and The Ambrosium

Introducing Buy More Art, a subtly-titled weekly collection of art and art events I'm recommending to the world. A close runner up name for the new series:  Love your Artist Neighbor, Buy More Art! (borrowing language from Lauren Winner's advice for art patrons in this book)

After writing 101 Monday Mixtape posts, I'm throwing a farewell party and welcoming in the new guy. You'll notice the mixtape lives on in spirit.  We're just hanging up the jersey on the metaphor.

In case you're wondering, a couple of things I consider when I'm putting together my collection:
  • Is this an emerging artist who could use a shout-out?
  • Is this an emerging artist I've met, friend of a friend, reminds me of someone I know?
  • Do I enjoy the painting/print/tunes/exhibit/piece/pages so much I want to own it for myself?
  • Does this artist have a risk-taking story I'm cheering?
  • Does this work feature the banjo? Move it straight to the top of the list.
{ This post is meant to be shared; help a starving artist and pass it on! If you'd like to receive This Sacramental Life in your inbox, enter your email address here }

The season of Advent begins this coming Saturday, December 1.  With that in mind I'm sharing a mini-collection of artful resources for you to enjoy in this beautiful waiting time.

-- 1 --

Keening for the Dawn: Christmastide

Have I mentioned how much I love it when artists collaborate?  Last week I shared with you the poetry inspired album The Necessary Dark from Ordinary Neighbors.  This week I'm excited to share an album of new music inspired by new sonnets inspired by old liturgy: Keening for the Dawn features Steve Bell's music inspired by the Chestertonian, quite hobbity lyrical troubadour Malcolm Guite.
“This is no mere jingly Christmas album, but a deep and beautiful recovery of the season of advent, of the darkness and longing that come before, and give their depth, to joy.”Malcolm Guite, author of Faith, Hope and Poetry / Ashgate Press, Cambridge, UK
Read the story behind the advent of this Advent adventure (aka, in which Guite uses the words "glib, bland, and frankly a bit naff" to describe most Christian contemporary music):  Keening for the Dawn - and adventure with Steve Bell

Read Guite's Advent sonnets that started the whole adventure in the first place:  Oh come, Oh Come! Some Advent Reflections

Read the album's first review from Kevin Belmonte:
an excerpt:  Some gifts mark the seasons, and are, in themselves, things we return to gladly—gratefully.
Such a gift comes this year in Keening for the Dawn, the new release from one of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters: Steve Bell. For more than twenty years, his rich tenor voice has sounded in tandem with the fluent phrasings of a skilled guitarist. They have garnered Juno Awards that stand testimony to the respect of his peers.
Listen to the title track from the album, Keening for the Dawn

Listen to song samples and read lyrics here

Purchase album here

-- 2 --
Sounding the Seasons: Poetry for the Christian year by Malcolm Guite                                                              

For an entire liturgical year's worth of Malcolm Guite's sonnets, Canterbury Press releases on December 5 Guite's Sounding the Seasons: Poetry for the Christian Year.
‘Each of Malcolm Guite’s sonnets is like a Celtic knot, with threads of devotion and theology cunningly woven into shining emblems of truth and beauty. Whether spoken aloud or read silently, these poems speak to mind and soul.’  
-- Luci Shawpoet and author of Harvesting Fog and Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit
listen to ‘O Emmanuel’ on Audioboo

O come, O come, and be our God-with-us
O long-sought With-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us Wisdom, come unspoken Name
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.

-- 3 --
Christian Activity Advent Calendar from The Ambrosium


True confession: I (almost literally) drooled at first sight of this new offering listed in The Ambrosium's shop.  I have quite a little wish list going there.  Still Phaedra Taylor's advent calendar design went straight to the top of the list.

Now I'm watching my mailbox every day, saving just the right spot in my house to hang the lovely reminders of Advent beauty. (By the way, Mom and Grandma -- if you're reading -- this is what you got me for Christmas!)

Buy the Advent calendar here (note: this week's orders will arrive to your home by December 5, check the shop site for shipping updates or send a note to Phaedra through her Etsy page.)

For an inspiring rationale for the season of Advent, read David Taylor's post on the subject: An Advent Calendar: alternate narrative, subersive time

While you're in the shop browse the lovely collection of vintage Christmas cards.  (also on my wish list...)

- add your art --

Now it's your turn!  What art are you making, selling, buying?  Tell us about it in the  comments below.  If you've written your own post, share the link.


"The God who impoverished himself is also the God of abundance, and somehow, perhaps at times nonsensically, Christians are called to live out of an ethic not of scarcity but of abundance—an abundance that extends both to the homeless neighbor and to the artist neighbor. . . "  -- Lauren Winner, from her chapter THE ART PATRON: Someone Who Can't Draw a Straight Line Tries to Defend her Art-Buying Habit  in For the Beauty of the Church

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