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Art and clothing for the spiritual side - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Art and clothing for the spiritual side

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Judith McManis is crafty and creative. "if I can see it, I can make it," McManis said.

The retired art teacher of 36 years expresses herself now through liturgical art -- art for churches and people who work in churches.

"They have a dream or idea of something they want to express relative to the ministry and I help them make that visible," McManis said.

For her business, Laudata Liturgical Art and Calligraphy, she creates everything from pieces that hang behind, on and around the altar -- to clothing. "Vestments -- which is the clothing that the clergy wear for presiding in a service," McManis said.

It all started when she made a few pieces for her church -- then other churches began commissioning her work.  And depending on the religious calendar, her pieces are on rotation. Episcopal churches are her main customers  -- and business is steady.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Are you busy?

Judith McManis: Yes, yes I am -- pleasingly busy. This year particularly I've had to put people in a line.

Silk is McManis's preferred medium. Sewing and fusing it together to create intricate beautiful designs. Curls and swirls and color are common themes between all of her pieces. Red is a celebratory color and purple symbolizes joy. "Liturgical colors are --  white -- is used for Christmas, Easter, funerals, celebratory times," McManis said. "Green is used in the longest period in the church year."

McManis hopes her work honors rituals and the past, but at the same time makes them fresh. "To brainstorm, to vision, to hopefully make visible what they're feeling and thinking and being spiritually moved to do. And when that happens and you can see the joy in their face, I don't think it gets any better than that," she said.

Creating life out of fabric for church art that's Made in Vermont.

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