The Herald Bulletin

November 16, 2013

Trio combine talents to craft expressions of faith

Chalice, communion table and drawings exhibited

By Karen Warner
For The Herald Bulletin

PENDLETON, Ind. — A few months ago, The Pendleton Artists Society (PAS) challenged its members to join with one or more artists to combine their talents and create an original work of art. The results were on exhibit at “The Blend” show, which premiered Nov. 9 at the PAS Gallery.

One artistic endeavor was the creation of Ball State students Cassandra Copenhaver, Lauren Davis and Molly Palecek. Copenhaver’s five finely drawn graphite pictures on tea-stained paper, Davis’ handcrafted wooden communion table and Palecek’s metal-smithed chalice presented an unique expression of not only their artistic abilities but their quest for faith and meaning.

“Cassandra, Lauren and Molly produced the kind of work that makes you think and think a little bit deeper, so I really appreciate that kind of art. It’s really exciting to see university students get involved with our organization,” said LaRisha Farrell, president of the Pendleton Artists Association.

The three 22-year-old students’ passion for art was evident as they talked about how they came to join PAS and what it took to create their display. Davis connected with a PAS member and was persuaded to join the newly formed Pendleton art society. She passed the word along to Copenhaver and Palecek who agreed that PAS was a great opportunity to connect with other artists in the community. Copenhaver and Davis were working on their individual pieces as assignments in two different art classes at Ball State. When they were invited to participate in “The Blend,” Copenhaver and Davis knew their two pieces would work perfectly together. Not to be left out, Palecek agreed to fashion a metal chalice as a finishing piece for the divinely inspired art installation.

Davis explained what induced her to build her communion table called “Partake”: “Religion and spirituality has always been in my life but telling them apart from one another has been a battle for only the past few years. Religion is largely based on tradition and many times tradition of any sort has a background that is not thought of when taking part in said tradition.”

Copenhaver’s five graphite drawings titled “Divine Questioning,” are based in her search for meaning in religious belief, “Everything we believe about religion is based on faith, something given to us by happenstance,” she said. The logical step, in my opinion, would be to allow personal belief to remain personal. Whether someone believes that there are a chosen people or there is a right and wrong way to live life is a personal choice, not something to be forced or lead to destruction. Blind faith, however, is something to overcome by finding one’s own path to religion.”

Sitting on the communion table is Palecek’s hand-wrought metal chalice entitled “The Home for My Soul.” She said, “This piece contrasts the Glory of God meeting the real world in the human soul. The soul is the bowl holding our faith, sometimes ragged around the edges but smooth and golden on the inside to honor God’s Glory. It is both a receptacle for God’s gifts and a home for our offerings given in his honor. The cast iron base stands for God’s permanence supporting the golden plexiglass bowl as His enduring presence enabling all of our creations.”