This advent calendar was made to be a functional, interactive, aesthetically pleasing art piece. Something I love about my friend Jenn is that she finds meaning in a lot of things: solstices/equinoxes, certain numbers, the moon phases, etc. Besides just being something beautiful to hang in her and her new husband's home, the calendar is meant to count down to whatever they want it to count down to. It was designed to rotate, so that whatever it is that the countdown is for should hang at the top. For example: Jenn's birthday. The calendar would be rotated so that Jenn's name reads the easiest, straight across the middle and from left to right. Or, if a New Moon is just a week away and she wants to be deliberate about its advent. Or, the fall equinox and their anniversary fall on the same day (coincidence? Nah!) and they want to celebrate.
As I was making it I had the song "Full Moonlight Dance" in my head the whole time. It is a spiritual (pagan?) song that I learned in my childhood that can be sung in a round, something I do all the time whenever I'm with my family. The song has been part of our repertoire for years. I loved the idea of incorporating music into the art piece, so I painted the words of the song around the circle. The music and words are pasted on the back of the calendar in case anyone wanted to know how it goes.
Other words: I thought of a word to represent what one might think of (or look forward to, in the spirit of a countdown) as each season turns. Spring = growth, Summer = warmth, Fall = balance, Winter = light. The names of the couple are painted in curves so that they turn into each other. They're connected with two 'ands' so that neither one of them is first. The couple is united by ands. Additionally, words that come to mind when I think of what goes into marriage are written along the circle that forms the base of the trees. You can't see them very well in this photo, but they include things like patience, friendship, and compassion. Another thing is that if you look really close, you can see that the dictionary definitions of the words 'wedding' and 'love' are randomly highlighted (the base of the circle is painted on a dictionary page). Finally, the word 'celebrate' is written in a swirl right in the middle, to remind the couple to celebrate themselves, the passing of time, and certain events, in an effort to ritualize simple things and create traditions for their officially new family of two.
The number seven is a lucky number in many cultures, and it also happens to be the number of days in a week--perfect for an advent. Jenn could tell you all the other inspiring things that come in the number seven (years ago, when our book club of six made the decision to allow one more person into the group, she outlined them all in an email to the rest of us). So the little white rectangular papers are tucked into 7 holders, meant to be written on by one person for the other. If they both want to countdown toward something, they can divide up the papers and each write a few, to alternate turns pulling a paper each day.
And yet, if they don't want to do the work of planning ahead to use the calendar part of it, they can just hang it up in whatever way inspires them to enjoy having on the wall. :)
Finally, here is a view of the back. This is how it is able to rotate on a single nail.
The piece was made on a piece of plywood, using acrylic paint. The wood is the remnant of the hole that was cut to make the sink in my art room. The metal piece on the back is something we found in the ducts/pipes area of the hardware store--I think it helps brace malleable ducting to the wall or to other ducts or something. And my handy husband even found just the right rounded-top screws to secure the metal circle in place.
I was so proud of this piece and wish so much that you could see it in person. I am proud of the idea, the artwork, the functionality, the personalization of it, and the depth of thought that went into it.