Generally, as an artist, if the idea of creating something makes you want to weep, it is golden and you must immediately do it.
This was one of those projects.
The prompt was to use pop-up book techniques to transform one of the Bible pages.
My parents brought back some old photos from my grandma’s house.
Among others, I got the above photo of me as a newborn. I’m fresh out of the oven, the hospital wristband still on my arm.
Can I be honest? When I look at the photo, the first emotion I feel is dislike.
One does not want to dislike any newborn. One does not want to feel negative feelings about a precious baby who has recently hatched, who cannot intend evil for the world. One wants to feel acceptance, and love, and awe, and tenderness.
I didn’t feel those things. That realization broke my heart.
My dislike caught me off guard when I first saw the picture. I hid the photo in the closet because it hurt to look at it. It hurt because of my negative feelings, and it hurt because I didn’t know how to change them.
So my idea for the page was to make some sort of pop-up apparatus (i.e. a folded bit of paper) and attach the picture to it so it would spring up when I opened that page.
A kind of in-your-face reminder that God loves and cherishes me, even if I struggle to.
And what better page for in-your-face love than Psalm 139, the fierce lullaby for our precious newborn selves?
Okay, so typing all that is hard. Deep breath. Let’s get technical for a minute.
The idea for a pop-up sounded super-fun when I put it in the book, but it proved harder than I expected. All of the examples I found online were for greeting cards–cutting shapes out of the fold of the card and bending them so they’d spring up when the card was open.
But instead of a single fold, I had the Bible’s binding to work with.
I decided to just fold a piece of paper, bend it into a rough table shape, and glue the legs, one apiece, to the facing pages for Psalm 139. It didn’t work all that well.
So if you do a pop-up project, do what Maria, another #wordmadeart participant did: just glue a greeting-card style piece of paper into the Bible. (BRILLIANT.)
After I had my pop-up face ready, I decided I needed to get serious about affirming the child in the photograph. I got out gold paint and wrote words about my identity in Christ: free, chosen, beloved, safe, cherished, daughter, precious, friend, child, sanctified, set apart, and accepted.
Also I added some hearts and flowers for good measure. I AM LOVED, dammit.
After I pasted it all into the Bible, I went upstairs and cried for a while.
Here’s the finished page.