/ 4.12.09 / No comments / banners , sewing
The Story of Our GCC Worship Banners
Have any of you from Grace wondered...how did these come to be? Well...here is the story and I think it is a special one!
I hope Mike doesn't mind my mentioning that it was his idea originally. He felt that our church in a school needed something to help make it feel more worshipful. And Pastor Ted and Pastor Dan, agreed. Somewhere along the line, I heard that they were looking to buy worship banners for the church.
I looked online and discovered that they were pretty expensive. And the lowest priced ones were fairly plain. I was pretty sure (not 100% sure!) that I could sew the banners myself. I offered to do it for half the price. We needed to fix our van's transmission and this would enable us to cover the cost. I was so glad when they accepted my offer!! But I was half afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew! This would be a very big project.
Pastor Dan gave Tim and I a book on the names of God, so that we would have a good theological foundation for researching the names of God and the meanings. My hubby loves theology and biblical study, so he and I read the book and discussed the various meaning and nuances and I came up with the wording for each banner.
I wanted to not only have the name but also a short line of wording at the bottom with the meaning/application of the name. I also researched online and found clip art that resembled most what I felt was the best and truest meaning of each name.
We also had to decide what color each banner should be. Tim had a great idea...lets use the colors of the stones in the walls of "New Jerusalem". Well, that is open for discussion too it seems.
There are many historical debates on what the names of the stones actually were and what color those stones might be. Sigh.. so we finally picked what seemed to be the most reasonable choices of colors for the names.
We matched up the names of God (as they appeared in scripture) with the color of the stones in the order that they were listed in Revelation. In this way, we sort of left the 'matching' up to God. I felt such an awe at the task that we had undertaken, and I very much wanted the Lord to be in control of these things as much as was possible.
I did mock ups of what seemed to be the semi-final versions of the banners. I also looked at the many options of banner designs on the web and being typical Donna, decided to incorporate all the pretty options I could! The choices were pointed bottom vs. flat, fringe or no fringe, trim or no trim, tabs or sleeves etc.
All of these would have been additional costs to the basic banner, but because I was doing it, I could keep the cost very cheap. I also added ropes and tassels. Really, I made them for about a third of what it would have cost, had we bought them for the basic price plus all the extra detailing.
I did have to find a wholesale source for the trims, tassels, and rope. That stuff is a fortune at retail prices! I found a company in India who would sell to me at wholesale. I was so nervous sending the money to a man in New York who was representing a company in India. I prayed the Lord would protect the order!! I was so glad when everything arrived in good shape and good time!
I knew that I wanted to use Windsor Satin from Hancock's because it is so durable and beautiful, and comes in 19 different colors. Tim and I were a little anxious that we would not be able to find all the colors we had researched.
The planning stages were now over, and we submitted it all to Pastor Dan for his input. Did he like the meanings and wording we had chosen...and the clip art ideas that illustrated the names??I was so nervous! But he liked it all and Tim and I were really happy. To me the hardest part was now done. I had mock-ups of 12 worship banners ready to work with.
But there was one big thing missing!!! I can draw pretty well, but I'm not an artist. I don't have that 'artistic' flair. Brandon Nixon was the only artist at church that we knew of, to ask for help. I had sewn one 'practice' banner (without the central art image) with borders, fringe, tabs etc. On a separate piece of satin, I appliqued a cross with cloth draped on it just to try to figure out how to applique and make it somewhat three dimensional.
I couldn't do it by hand like I normally do, because I was having trouble with numbness so I had to do it by machine. I had no practice with that so I had to learn 'on the fly' as usual! But my drawings lacked the special touch that a good artist gives. There was no 'life' to it.
Brandon was willing to help, but had a lot going on, so the project went on hold for a while. What I didn't realize was that he didn't feel comfortable drawing the pictures himself. He is a painter and that's quite a different skill than drawing.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, the Lord was bringing us someone for whom this type of drawing was their specialty! The Muchas began coming to our church about mid-way through this project and I think we were all relieved when Pastor Ted or Pastor Dan ( I can't remember which now) suggested I ask for Shannon's help.
What we needed, though I didn't know it at the time, was a graphic artist. And that is what she does best! She took all of my clip art ideas and transformed them into beautiful art! I didn't want to just 'steal' art off of banners on the web or even clip art...it needed to be original artwork.
I had pictured in my mind what I wanted to have for each banner and then hunted down the clip art to represent it, but she actually drew each concept with her own beautiful and uniquely graceful hand. The drawings were just beautiful. They had to be simple line drawings for the sake of my applique technique but thick enough that when I blew them up to banner size, they would be sew-able.
They were perfect! Now...I could start sewing!! And Boy did I sew! I had to really think hard to figure out how to work with the satin, the gold lame, batting to add dimension, and even figure out how to do the lettering. I did a lot of practice sewing before I did the first banner.
Adonai is my favorite banner ...Shannon drew the man bowing in prayer so so beautifully! And it was personal to me. Being the stubborn person that I am, submitting to the lordship of Christ took a major crisis in my life. Once I surrendered, I never wanted to be my own 'lord' again. It's so wonderful being under his lordship...so freeing..and safe!
The lettering was another issue altogether. I needed something that could be cut out fairly easily. The Lord, again, sent the right person along to advise me...Mike and Tammy Guthrie. Mike is in the banner business and Tammy and him had cut out many a letter! So they helped me pick a font that could be cut out. But there was no way I could do that by hand myself. My hands would have gone numb very quickly...so the wonderful ladies of Grace came to my rescue. Peggy, Tammy, Suzanne, Kristy, Terri S, Shannon R, Angela, and several others...
I knew I wouldn't remember everyone's names...all helped by taking home pages of letters that I traced on the wall from my overhead projector onto gold lame backed by stitch witchery. That alone was pretty hard on my hands, but I paced myself. I sent out packets of lettering and they soon came back..all cut out and ready to iron on!
This really was such a group project in many ways. I wish I had the video of that worship service when we brought each banner in one by one on poles. Pastor Dan, Peggy, and the Chris and Jacob all worked to make it special and everyone who played music or sang. I think Mike helped make the poles and it was just beautiful! I'm so glad that God put it this vision on Mike's heart!