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Waiting for the Light

…ritual without meaning is dead and meaningless. But ritual coupled with meaning is liturgy. Lighting candles during the darkest time of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) can infuse this time with meaning and significance.

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3 Things I’m Thinking About This November

This November has me thinking about a lot of things that on the surface don’t seem to have much in common. What does my birthday, All Saints Day, the Election, and Charles Dickens have in common?

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They Are All Long Shots

“They are all long shots.” Those words reverberated in my bones. All of it, all these risks we take, they are all long shots. If you keep pulling back that bow, one of these times you are going to hit the target. The thing about trying and missing is that you are going to get better.

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A Year of Claire McCardell

“Frederick is a place where history is made, and today we are doing it again by honoring a woman who changed the way women dress,” she [Hempel Irani] said.

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Installing Marble Sculptures, Part III

They picked up the marble sculpture and plaster carver’s model from the US Customs inspection office in New York, trucked it down to Potomac, placed the stone and finished the job by dinner time. These big events tend to build in your mind and then they happen. Just like that, they happen on an ordinary day. A Thursday, for example.

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A Little About Materials: Plastilina

The clay that I use in the studio is not the same as the water-based clay that most people encounter in a ceramics studio. You’ve likely heard the terms ball clay, porcelain, or terracotta. The clay that I use is an oil-based clay and cannot be placed in a kiln. It’s made from dehydrated ball clay, oil and wax. When it gets hot, it melts. The benefit of this clay, called Plastilina or Plasticine, is that it never hardens completely, nor does it dry out.

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Installing Marble Sculptures, Part II

Sure, I designed the sculpture and sculpted it, but without the help of several models, the mold-maker and enlarger, Malcolm the stone-carver and his crew, and Andrew and the crew at Canal Street Studios, and not to mention the generous donor who has been gracious enough to give such a lasting gift to the church- none of this would have happened.

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Installing Marble Sculptures

How many people does it take to move a two-ton sculpture of the Blessed Virgin out of the studio, onto a truck, drive sixty-five miles down the road and into a niche in a church? We had quite a crew out there!

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part IV

For the people who visit Our Lady of Mercy, the sculptures point us to the Divine. The Stations of the Cross illustrate the Passion. They don’t merely retell an historical event but attempt to uncover some of the deeper spiritual truths. The Virgin Mary is celebrated as the mother of God but also as a woman whose act of faith changed the world. Her husband, St. Joseph, stands as a reminder to fathers and husbands of the important role that God has for them.

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