Sacred Space on a Budget: Advent

At our small, city church, our idea-to-budget ratio runs extremely high. I have long applied this quote to my own life, but it has also become a prevailing theme and philosophy in our arts and worship planning:

“Economy is the art of making the most of life.

The love of economy is the root of all virtue.”

– George Bernard Shaw

As much of a fan as I am of putting your money where your values are, I have also seen how making much of little stimulates creativity. Limits are good for art, and improvising with found materials has become part of our aesthetic and ethos. We’ve ingrained this practice to such a degree we didn’t manage to spend the relatively roomy budget we allowed ourselves for dolling up the sanctuary this season. The more dramatic bits were practically free, made from paper, foil, scrap wood, and an upcycled string of bulbs.

Star by Trish, Fabric Hanging by Deb & Cristie

Star by Trish, Fabric Hanging by Deb & Cristie

The Advent “wreath” is a 6′ length of wire with rusted tin stars coiled around a basic candleholder.

We strung a big X of fishing line across the sanctuary above the pews and hung silver origami stars of various styles at varying lengths. The silver caught the light and the layout created the illusion of depth, distance, and filling space on multiple planes with only 13 stars and 2 lines.

I really must take some pictures with an actual camera again someday, but you get the idea.

I really must take some pictures with an actual camera again someday, but you get the idea.

We’re planning to save these for another year and add a similar number of stars on two lines run straight across to achieve more of a knock-out effect. Here are the stars up close along with links to the online tutorials I followed to make them.

The septima stars were quite simple to fold. The component pieces could be easily mass-produced by a chatty group with idle hands, and the pattern is forgiving enough you can use slightly imperfect aluminum foil squares.

septima star

The kusudama pieces are a little more complicated, and I did cheat and use one piece of tape at each join so they could survive the handling necessary to hang them. Better suited for origami paper and crafty types willing to pay more attention to detail. If you do too many yourself, be prepared to dream about crane folds.

kusudama Click here for more beautiful patterns. Most are more involved, and many are more flower-like than star-like. Hmm… Easter, anyone?

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