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Custom Borders

I was so lucky to become involved with Mustard Seed Training shortly after moving to Ohio. Mustard Seed ( provides beautiful faith-based educational materials from all kinds of local artisans. Their vision for a line of illustrated materials perfectly matched my style, and I had the opportunity to create several pieces for the company. My favorite by far were the set of prayer-card borders. Each one was inspired by a different mystery of the rosary, and I was able to incorporate my love of nature into the designs.

Plants and animals are such a rich source of symbolism in Catholicism, found everywhere from paintings to churches to illuminated manuscripts. Discovering some of these hidden meanings was fascinating. Everyone, for example, is familiar with the "Jesus fish," but I never knew that one of my personal favorite flowers, the Columbine, is a symbol of the Annunciation (the descending flowers are supposed to represent the Holy Spirit), or that the ram caught in the bushes during Abraham's sacrifice was a prefigurement of Christ crowned with thorns.

Through my work for Mustard Seed, I also got the opportunity to design this custom stationary for the Canadian branch of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd's National Gathering. The theme for the gathering was taken from a verse in Revelations (one of the less grim passages)— "behold, I make all things new."

The verse contains so much beautiful imagery, “...To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life...[they] will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children."

At an artists' retreat earlier this year, I wrote down this wonderful quote that the speaker shared with us, "We both receive and produce beauties in particular, uncommon ways, that manifest delicacies of God's love." I can honestly say that this type of work doesn't feel like work at all—the opportunity to produce something beautiful, to revel in the design of nature, feels like a gift. And learning about the ancient meanings connected with these plants, fruits, and animals makes me feel more connected with the earth, and with the generations who have come before. Knowing that we have looked at the same plants, eaten the same fruits, marveled at the same beauties, is such a wonderful, grounding thought.

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