Books of the Bible Windows Poster
In January 2022 I started illustrating the Books of the Bible Windows poster. The genesis of the story began in late 2021 when a friend who happens to be a theology lecturer showed me a basic diagram that he’d put together to show the books of the Bible on a bookshelf (as an educational resource for his students). He then asked me, “have you ever thought about creating a books of the Bible artwork?”
My first thought was, 'well, not really, I mean, I’m no biblical scholar, how in the heavens would I do that?' Soon, as providence would have it, other people within Christian / Catholic / Josephite schools and religious circles (NZ, AU, USA) also asked me about Bible resources around that time. So, I prayed, and over the next few months, the project stayed in my heart. As time passed, my love of stained glass windows and traditional etching art also stayed in my heart, moving me to think...
Why don’t I create an artwork poster for the Catholic Bible in stained glass and etching?
And really, let's go big! Only bigness has the power to transform hearts.
As I began the project, its main focus was to create an art resource for all Christian, Catholic and Josephite schools in NZ, AU, USA and beyond.
“Little did we dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning” (MMK 1891). Just as Mary and Julian had to trust the inner call of God to establish our congregation, I too felt a call and knew I had to trust a strong inner pull to create this artwork, even though I didn't know where it was going. I really had no idea what I was about to embark on... yes, comically this led to many *hand to forehead* and *really God!?* moments over the almost eight months it took to complete this modern Christian / Catholic Bible art project.
Listening led me to continuously say yes to creating this new Catholic Books of the Bible Windows poster. Our Josephite spirituality calls me to “believe in the whisperings of God to your own heart” (MMK 1868). We are all invited to discern our inner callings, perhaps Saint Jerome knew this when he first translated the Old Testament into Latin from the original Hebrew—trusting his call, little did he know what translations would follow. “Literature, art and even popular language have continually been shaped by Jerome’s translation of the Bible, leaving us great treasures of beauty and devotion" (1). I can see now that Pope Francis was onto something, he reflected that our “quest of religious truth can be a passionate adventure that unites heart and mind” (1).
With research, I discovered that there are no other visual translations of the Catholic Bible like this. As a Christian / Catholic artist the project required many many “come holy spirit moments” (as my Godmother used to say). I started out sketching by hand, piecing together window shapes, and how they could come together to fit onto available paper sizes. Also drawing flora, scroll sizes, shapes and window details. I soon realised there would be numerous changes and considering that I value what I have left of my sanity, I switched it up and went the digital route (thanks apple pencil).
Over many late nights and weekends, much community help, and a lot of research the scripture artwork poster came to life. I could not have completed it without the help from others, I'm deeply grateful for the support from my Josephite congregation, Auckland lecturers at the Catholic Theological College (especially Fr Merv Duff SM), Te Kupenga staff, teachers, friends and family in the USA, AUS and Aotearoa NZ (thanks mum). All encouraged me when I felt like giving up. Community gifts us more than we can imagine or can ever do alone. This new Bible artwork has been created by community, for community (AMDG).
Christian / Catholic schools and churches have a rich tradition of beauty through painting, stained glass and etchings. Our document Via Pulchritudinis (The Way of Beauty) highlights the role of beauty as a powerful tool to open our hearts to God's ways—highlighting how religious education is understood, and hearts are changed through beauty. This is surely a tradition we must carry forward for Catholic / Christian schools in Australia, Aotearoa NZ and worldwide?
I hope this new etching bible art and stained glass art poster connects and inspires other Christian / Catholic artists to create beautiful modern education resources too (just like the beauty I also experience through the Word on Fire Bible). And I would love to hear from teachers if there are other resources that would be useful for lessons - perhaps digital images with no names on the scrolls so students can print a section and fill in the names or any other ideas? please let me know.
My dream is for this poster to be in every school - why not hope/dream big?
May we be mindful that God is alive in scripture today and hold close to our hearts “the advice that Jerome unceasingly gave to his contemporaries: “Read the divine Scriptures constantly; never let the sacred volume fall from your hand”(1). We would be very grateful if you would consider purchasing a print of this educational art resource for your school, parish, home or community organisation. If you are also aware of a school that cannot afford a print, then please get in touch—we'll try to remedy that, ALL students should have access to this work.
if you're interested in placing larger orders for schools or organisations.
Click on the images below to view full images with descriptions, and learn how the artwork process unfolded.
Many articles have been published including NZ Catholic / AU Cath News / Catholic Weekly and more - check them out to continue discovering.
As a Christian artist, I truly hope this new visual translation / Books of the Bible Windows poster / RE resource is helpful for religious education teachers, students and all who are searching for truth through our good God of beauty. May the windows of our lives receive light through the Word—"For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light"(2).
> The etching line details can remind us of the delicate intimacy and intricacy of God's patient ways in our lives.
> The stained glass imagery can remind us that God is always shining through in our lives, revealing through the Word.
If we look towards something it can become like an icon. But, if we look through the Word, like looking through stained glass windows we can experience revelation in every place and space.
> The scroll, codices and letter size are based on the amount of text in the Bible. For example, the book of Genesis has 50 chapters, so it takes up about half of the width of the window.
> The tree that flows from left to right is an acacia tree. The acacia tree wood was used to create the ark box that carries the ark of the covenant. The tree and light on the windows show the light starting with genesis. Natural light also streams through the windows from the right (New Testament). Old and New come together.
> The pieces of glass are held together and drawn with ‘came’. The colours illustrated are very accurate to how the colours would need to be separated if actually made with stained glass.
Fruits, flowers and more:
Pentateuch: Wheat, Bees, Lady Bugs, Grass, Myrtle Communis, Dates, Olives, Erodium Crassifolium, Apricots, Pomegranate
Historical: Wheat, Grass, Bees, 5 Stones, Golden Flowers, Olives, Blood of the Maccabees, Figs, Peas, Thistle, Dove
Wisdom and Poetry: Bullrush, Grass, Bees, Deer, Eagle, Lily of the Valley, Delphinium, Apples, Dates, Roses, Madonna Lily, Thistle
Prophets: Owl, Shepherd, Sheep, Locust, Swift / Swallow, Grass, Leeks, Dog Chamomile, Crocus or Meadow Saffron, Almonds, Anemone / Poppy (Lily of the Field), Dates, Daffodils, Tulips, Roses, Grapes and Vine
New Testament: Magi, Lady Bug, Dragonfly, Butterflies (transformation), Wheat, Grapes and Vines, Crocus, Grass, Anemone / Poppy (Lily of the Field), Dog Chamomile, Flowers, Acorns and Leaves
Top Windows: Alpha and Omega, Two gold Cherubim (they sit on top of the Ark of the Covenant), 12 Stars (12 Tribes and 12 Apostles), Trinity, Scroll (left), Parchment paper (right) – joining together with the Trinity and all colours of the rainbow (new covenant).
Symbols: Visual symbols can be found on each scroll, these visual translations represent some of the stories/meaning told within each book, codices and letters.
Surprises / ‘Easter Eggs’: There are also little surprises or what artists call ‘easter eggs’ with small symbolism that can be found throughout the background imagery – all created for you to discover. You might even find a unicorn head in the New Testament! Unicorns have been used to symbolise Christ through history (especially in the middle ages).
Ideas for teaching:
Cover up the words with post-it notes and have students guess the contents based on the symbol?
Cover up the symbols and have students create symbols for each?
Ask students to create their own symbols, fruits and flowers for each section
>> Email Jane <<
to place a larger orders for schools or organisations.