I wasn’t planning on doing an altarscape this week. We’ve had something on the communion table since the beginning of Advent. And while the designs are visually engaging, you get way more bang for your buck if you don’t do them every Sunday. Their absence makes their presence all the more appreciated.
All of that to say that my dear friend Sarah sent me a text yesterday with a picture of some jugs and fabric with the note “Are you doing the Wedding at Cana this week?” I was, along with the lectionary text from Corinthians and an emphasis on MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. So at first glance, I thought “That’d be nice, but I’ll pass this week.”
But this morning in the shower (where my better ideas tend to show up), I realized that this might be a great way to show that altarscapes can add to what’s already on our altars. So I set off to a church member’s flower shop to see what I could scrounge up.
Here’s what I started with:
-Various jugs (I like options!)
-blue fabric (the same I used last week for the Baptism of the Lord)
-some red/burgandy fabric
At Westfield, we’ve got two communion tables: the old communion table (pictured below) and the new communion table. I love the curved edges and dark wood of the old table, so I chose to use it for this altarscape. After a long absence, the silver candlesticks and cross have returned. It was important to me to keep those elements on the table this week so that those who miss these symbols of the faith could see them there.
Start with a simple jug, turned on it’s side. I chose this one because of it’s similar color to the wood.
This will help the blue of the water really stand out.
I added the stoneware jokes on the floor. Often when we think of altarscapes, we only utilize the top of the table. Use more space!
Together, they look like this:
Now, it’s time to add my favorite altarscape-making resource: FABRIC. The miracle at Cana involved Jesus turning water into wine. So the idea for this altar is to turn the blue fabric to deep red. After taking a step back it became clear less is more when it comes to altar jugs. (I’ll add that to the top ten statements I never thought I’d type!)
I chose to have the red fabric flow out of the bottom jug and pool around it as a symbol not just of Jesus’ divine nature but also of the abundance of God’s grace–there’s just so much it can’t all fit into one container!
So with the blue and red together, here’s what we have:
And here’s a problem. Our red carpet makes it difficult for the the “wine” to be seen. The whole thing feels hollow.
So, I raided my fabric stash and added a drape to give the design some context.
Adding the blue fabric back from one jug into another looks like this. (Tip: I twisted the fabric before putting both ends in either jug which provides the spiral effect. Also, that tub of water rocks for flowers worked great as a way to anchor the blue fabric in the upper jug)
Then, I added the red fabric back. The red fabric has a velveteen sheen which as a visual depth when pooling.
Here’s the final altar from a couple of angles:
The orange drape, while not my first choice (actually, it was my only choice) does grab the eye upon entering the sanctuary.