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Entries in Elaine Savoie (2)


Mary Magdalene, patron saint of prosperity

 Here is another icon of Mary Magdalene—by artist Elaine Savoie of Hornby Island in British Columbia. Click on the image.

Of course, you recognize the Red Egg.

We had a delightful visit with Elaine about sixteen months ago. We didn't realize it then, but when she heard the story of the Red Egg, this icon began percolating within her. And now here the icon is.
We just received this image—as if posting the story below had called St. Mary all the way down this coast.
Look how regal she is. This is a woman to stand up to a Caesar or two—let alone to you or me.

I don't know who these figures are beneath the Magdalen's regal, starry skirts. Are they recipients of her patronage who have commissioned this icon in their gratitude?

 I do know that on the indigenous northwest coast coppers are signs of economic and social status.

And in economic times like these, all of us—including artists, certainly—would be grateful to have copper wings like these.


Elaine Savoie – Hornby Island

She makes them up. Either she makes up the whole damn thing – or else she just freely weaves her own story into them. Into these “saints,” that is. Into these corvid and chicken-icons. St. Abundance. St. Laya. St. Riel. And all the others. Some have “real” saints’ names, but she’s made up all or part of their hagiographies. There is an icon of her father, who built the Catholic church on the island, but with whom Elaine has argued about orthodoxy all her life. There’s an icon to pain, to a woman’s sexual pleasure, to the explosive forces within a marriage.

Hearing this, you might think these icons are just irreverent – iconoclastic icons, as it were. After all, they do break every rule.

But that never occurred to us when we were with them – because they come from such a sharp, intelligent questioning. They come from a woman who as a young girl felt such a profound spiritual awareness that pat catechism answers just left her more dissatisfied.

So now her icons feel like wry conversations with the sacred. “Come on,” they seem to ask, “Let’s be honest here – how do you really connect with the sacred in your own messy life?”

And you’re reminded of how desperately you need this kind of humor -- in order to poke holes in all the damn hierarchies you’ve been so busy-as-a-bee building all around and within yourself.

“Hey, buddy,” I thought I heard a chicken-icon whispering
as I leaned over the fence and looked out across the sea. “What if you risked pissing off your whole family, too? What if the answers they gave you were also never quite enough?”

Back inside, Elaine’s studio was still full of delight and conversation and laughter. She has such energy about her. It bursts out everywhere: in her garden, in her conversation, in her art. We all need our local saints.

Elaine Savoie - Debi

I must add that Elaine also does these fantastic acrylic paintings - mostly of corvids, fruit and poultry.