Original Christmas Art at Affordable Prices--Si, Señor!

Dear friends, my wife, the lovely Phaedra Jean, has officially opened an Etsy shop.

Never heard of Etsy? Neither had I until she said to me one day, "I love Etsy!" I figured at the moment that it had to do with a) naturopathetic medicine, b) a British cartoon character or c) art. Or maybe she was just sneezing. No, she was talking about a site that features original, handmade or vintage art. It's gorgeousness everywhere, trust me.

But the point of this blog is not to point you to everywhere but to somewhere, and that somewhere is The Ambrosium. Isn't that a nice word? As she describes it, it is "an Etsy shop full of beautiful devotional objects to enrich your contemplative life."  I want to recommend her site for two reasons, one salutary, one pragmatic.

You've probably noticed two things these days. One, it's Christmas. Technically of course it isn't, it's Advent, that brief spell of time in the church's life where we practice a "little lent." Crazy, huh? A "little lent"? Yes, and so very liberating. Our lovely American market thinks otherwise. Most likely, secondly, you're experiencing the most gargantuan, multi-sensory pounding of stimuli.

But before I digress into an homage to Neil Postman, let me say that one of the things that rarely happens around Christmas is the opportunity to buy and receive original art. (I'll assume this is a good thing.) Usually it's too expensive, and that's where the lovely Phaedra Jean comes in. Her work is beautiful, affordable and a potential aid to the deepening of your experience of Christ's Incarnation. This is the salutary reason you might consider buying (and giving) it.

The pragmatic reason is this. Working on a PhD (or ThD, as the case may be) is usually not a lucrative enterprise. Some folks get rich while sitting in the library ten hours a day. I am not one of them. This then is Phaedra's way to generate income in our season of graduate school life. (I'm doing my part in other ways.) Prices in her Etsy shop range from $10 to $90 and include things like hand-drawn ornaments, elegantly simple Christmas cards, prints and Encaustic crosses. (Encaustic? The term from the Latin encausticus, borrowed from the Greek enkaustikos, which peels apart to form the word en + kaiein: "to burn in." What burns? you ask. Beeswax, lots and lots of deliciously smelling beeswax.)

So the younger Taylor household warmly invites you to consider doing your Christmas shopping through The Ambrosium. If you’ve already finished your shopping, perhaps you can pass along the info to your friends and family--and to Oprah too. And to the Pope. And to Bono. If you needed more convincing, below are the Top Ten reasons for buying something from The Ambrosium this Christmas season.

Thank you for reading this far. We appreciate it. Remember, you can click on the photographs for larger versions.

Finally, I pray that your Advent is filled with at least one moment where you taste again the reason-defying, merriness-rehauling mystery of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead burrowing himself into the womb of a teenage gal in the backwoods of nowhere a long time ago, but now risen, ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father, from whom the Spirit proceeds to bring about the work of Christ to make all things new, the empirical data notwithstanding, perhaps, but still worth clinging to as a truth that sets us free in a way our hearts badly crave.

(That was a long sentence. Wow. I believe it, though.)


1. You care about art being a vibrant part of the church's life, and you want David to finish his degree so that he can help that happen.

2. You are cheering on small businesses who are trying to make a go of things in the worst economy in recent memory.

3. You are in love with anything gold.

4. You value giving your family and friends one-of-a kind things that will last hundreds of years (literally).

5. You don’t want to go to the mall.

6. You’re tired of looking for crosses and finding the same old thing everywhere (the same artistic rendition of crosses, that is, not the cross itself, even if it is the "old rugged" cross).

7. You’re desperately searching for Christmas ornaments that have something to do with Jesus.

8. You think wax is the best substance in the galaxy and want as much of it in your house as possible.

9. You want David and Phaedra to be able to pay their rent.

10. You love beauty.


shannon newby said…
Amen, especially to number 8! Long live Phaedra's beautiful waxy art-making! :)
Thanks, Shannon. :)

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