Oblate Karla Neumann-Smiley, a Lutheran campus minister at University of Idaho, and Jamie Tucker, a professor of art at Northwest Nazarene University completed month-long artist residencies this summer at St. Gertrude’s.
Karla first became engaged in the arts at St. Gertrude when she took a 2008 iconography workshop alongside Sister Carolyn Miguel. She has been involved with the Spirituality & the Arts team and is also a facilitator of the Embracing the Artistic Call creativity cohort that “invites people to explore and claim creative practice as a vocation.”
Her wide breadth of engagement in the arts has ironically sometimes kept her from her own creative practice. This summer she was able to take some time for her art through a residency at the Monastery.
“I experience art as a form of prayer,” said Karla. “I was able to take sabbath from a year of stress and illness. I needed to rest.”
Karla literally combined prayer and art by painting during the hours of the Divine Office, literally getting up in the middle of the night to observe and paint during Vigils. She also created a series of seven paintings titled according the seven hours of prayer: Vigils, Lauds, Terce, Sext, Non, Vespers, Compline.
Karla attended prayer with the sisters, who observe a modified version of the Divine Office, gathering together to pray three times a day. She also helped with getting ready for Raspberry Festival and led a day workshop on gelli plate printing.
Jamie Tucker and the Sun
Jamie Tucker who teaches art at Northwest Nazarene University also sought a retreat for both prayer and her artistic practice.
Jamie focused on creating cyanotypes — a photographic printing process that uses paper coated with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. The cyanotype emulsion is sensitive to ultraviolet light. Jamie created prints by exposing the paper to the rich Idaho sun. She used the prints to also create books.
Jamie also created letterpress prints and a book from her grandma’s quilt. Her days included long walks in the areas surrounding the Monastery, helping sisters with various tasks, listening to sermons and prayers, and discovering much about life at St. Gertrude’s. She kept a blog of her days on Instagram: @jamiehubtuck