The clear ribbon represents the hundreds of thousands of people who are part of the "invisible" population of people diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer affects millions of people, worldwide, each year. Yet there are no races for a cure, no movies of the week and, until now, no lung cancer awareness ribbons.
These shocking words brought Sarah to our studio. It was her desire to create her own personalized awareness ribbon, a badge of courage that visibly declared her as irrevocably a part of the battle against lung cancer. Settling on the design for the ribbon was fairly easy, but part of our original concept also called for an appropriate symbol to be emblazoned across the "solid" section of the piece.
Like so many things, it's the little details that can take forever. We looked into just about every symbolic language in history, looking for something that represented all the things Sarah wanted said. During a long series of email exchanges, the idea of using the symbols for various angels came up. After a bit of research, the archangel Gabriel became the obvious choice:
God is my strength/Strength of God/Strength in God
One of the two highest ranking angels, and ruler of the Cherubim (foot soldiers of God). He is the angel of mercy, annunciation, resurrection, vengeance, death and revelation. He presides over paradise and is the ruling angel of the first heaven. This archangel is a primary messenger of God, bringing divine announcements and revelations to humankind, acting as an intermediary between heaven and earth and helping us to interpret our dreams and our visions. Gabriel grants wishes and hopes to mortals, as well as joy, mercy, understanding of mysteries, truth, justice, miracles and love. Perhaps due in part to Gabriel's strong association with passion, benevolence and the moon, some theological thought holds that Gabriel is (as much as angels can be) female, the only one among a male or androgynous Host.
Gabriel, Angel of Life, enter my limbs and give strength to my whole body.
Essene prayer, 2nd century B.C.
The final piece features a stylized version of the angelic script for the archangel Gabriel incised into the front plate, enameled in a glossy black. If you ever manage to make it over to the biblical heaven, look for the girl sunning herself on a comfortable park bench in the nicer part of Eden and ask to see it in person.
Cast, fabricated and enameled sterling silver.
Charles Burnley, 2000.