Hearthside Chat: Crafting the altar

by Joceyln

The Afal Mawr hearth has spent the last year and a half slowly creating our personal altar boxes. I first read about it in the Gwyl Mair 2011 issue in an article by Ashley Michael. She made hers in an Altoid Tin and it really intrigued me. I have made sculptural boxes and books over the years and love the clearly defined space as a structural element. I had to make one myself! Then I realized that not only did I have to make one, but my hearth should join in the fun. We had just finished discussing sacred space and what is more sacred than your own altar and how wonderful would it be to have transportable sacred space? They loved the idea and we embarked on the journey to make our own personal altar boxes. I have been chronicling our process in the last several issues of the Tor Stone.

We began by making a list of things we wanted make and things to do:

1. Decorate the box

2. Offering bowl/ silver apple

3. Apple branch

4. Altar cloths

5. Images of Goddesses/totems

6. Vials of red and white spring water

7. Other personally relevant ritual item

We began by making the offering bowl or silver apple out of air dry clay at our first meeting. We also squeezed in the creation of our apple branches.  We alternate our meetings between crafting and doing inner workings, so significant time can elapse between each time we get to work on our boxes. The next time we met to craft, we made our Goddesses out of air dry clay. We spent time meditating on how we wanted to portray out Goddesses and what kind of energy we wanted to connect with through the sculptures. Our results were wonderful!

Our next step was the creation of the altar cloth, the foundation of every altar. We measured and cut and the sewing sister in our hearth hemmed them all on her sewing machine.  Over the summer we had a paint-o-rama fest! We moved outdoors to paint our boxes, silver apple offering bowls, and Goddesses. Acrylic paint and spray paint were employed.

Most of our major components have been created and are mostly complete. At our next meeting we will be gathering the items and putting them together. Before we meet I have asked each sister to spend time in meditation connecting with the energies of Avalon to see if there are final touches to add. We have discussed embroidering our altar cloths and decoupaging our boxes with images and symbols connected to our own work.

In the last installment of this series I will share images of our final pieces. I would love to include some other sisters interpretations of the project, so if you have created your own personal altar box, please email the editor images to send to me at: editor@torstone.orgbox painting.

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