Why I Love Making Sacred Art

This is why I love making sacred art. Art is always a spiritual act, but with sacred art, people approach it seeking God. And there is that hope that the piece you made, carefully, painstakingly, lovingly with your own hands, somehow connects the viewer to something, Someone Higher.

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Vocations: Mother & Artist, Learning to be Both

Mother When my daughter arrived here from India in 2009, I was elated beyond measure. I felt powerful, woman, incredible. I was so in love, so captivated, so full of light. Then I spiraled into a deep, black place. Postpartum depression is not just something biological mothers face. On my way down, I saw all the ways…

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A Voice in Ramah

This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18 A Voice in Ramah Sarah Hempel Irani Half-life size, plaster with faux bronze patina, 2008 $6720.00 INTERNET PRICE:  $5,900.00…

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One Shovelful at a Time

Reprinted from my old blog, Nine Tons of Marble, on May 9, 2009. My uncle tells this beautiful parable about achieving a monumental task. Many years ago, he and his young son had to lay a sewer line in the back yard. They had to dig a forty-foot trench by hand, too poor to afford…

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An Aesthetic Experience

I was watching 60 Minutes last night and they reported on a most remarkable orchestra in the Congo. The Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra is the only symphony orchestra in Central Africa and the only all-black orchestra in the world. The musicians are all volunteers, some walking 90 minutes each way to get to rehearsal. I don’t know much…

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Portraiture as Art

On July 3, 2006 I went to the National Portrait Gallery with Erik. They were celebrating a re-opening after a long renovation and it was the opening of the big portrait competition, which I entered this year. I did a portrait of Asha in only two weeks. It was very intense. I even made a…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part IV

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It has appeared here in several parts. Read PartI, Part II, and Part III first. This is the final installment. When I was a child, I thought that art was superfluous in the church: mere decoration, a distraction from worship.…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part III

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It will appear here in several parts. Read Part I and Part II first. With the Virgin Mary out of the studio, I began work on St. Joseph. Initially, finding imagery for St. Joseph was difficult. He is mentioned a mere seven…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part II

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It will appear here in several parts. Read Part I first. From May 2001 until the following May, we created fourteen four-foot by two-foot multifigure composition bas-reliefs. We collaborated on the design as a whole so that we would have…

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