The Retablo Making Process

I’ve been reading a book, “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century”, which documents what middle class families have in their homes. Chapter two is entitled “Material Saturation: Mountains of Possessions.” The authors point out that “many families amass more than their houses can hold.” The book includes photos of shelves full of toys, cluttered offices filled with paperwork and books, and garages filled with everything but a car. Relative to the homes featured in the book, I tend to think that I’m not that bad off. Our garage contains cars. My office is comfortable and free of paperwork. Even my closets are relatively organized. . . But then I open the dungeon room door and I realize, that I too suffer the 21st century curse of hyper-consumerism.

Since August of 2016, I’ve chipped away at the cluttered madness that I call my dungeon room. I remove bits of stuff each week. It is in a much better state than it was only a few months ago. At this point, I can walk into the room without having to move items out of the way. However, there is a long way to go until I reach that clear uncluttered space I can envision in my head.

In the meantime, I created a few St. Isidore retablos from some of the old paneling stored in said room.

St. Isidore is considered the patron saint of technology and/or the internet. Isidore of Seville wrote the “Etymologiae”, which one might view as the world’s first encyclopedia. It was the most used textbook during the Middle Ages. His ability to synthesize and share knowledge is why he is now associated with the internet and technology.

In December as I scrambled wondering what kind of gifts to give people, a St. Isadore retablo seemed like the perfect gift for a Catholic database manager I know.

The Retablo Making Process

Step One: Produce an image.
I photo-shopped an image of the statue of St. Isidore of Seville by Jose Alcoverro outside of the National Library in Madrid, Spain.

Step Two: Cut and sand wood plates.

Step Three and Four: Paint wood plates and apply gel transfers of the image.

Step Five: Remove paper of the gel transfer.

Step Six and Seven: Paint the retablos and add decorative crochet.

Step Eight: Sell St. Isidore Retablos to someone with an appreciation for my work . . . No pressure, but visit my online shop.

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