I carried this idea around in my head for a lot of years before I finally started work on it. It is a response to contemporary culture and our pre-occupation with celebrities - people who are famous and make the front pages of those magazines and newspapers you see at the grocery checkout. They seem to be famous as a result of being famous - being beautiful or rich helps, but failing that - being notorious is just about as effective. Why do we care about these people? Why do they seem more important than our own neighbours, friends and relations? Wouldn't it be great if we honoured people more for goodness than glamour?
At first I wanted to celebrate people doing a good job at everyday things - like recycling, being the unofficial office tech support, caring for animals, being kind, helping people in the community through service clubs, local charities, or trade unions. I thought the concept of 'patron saints' was a good one for this and that I could invent fictional characters to be these patron saints of contemporary things like; recycling, companion animals, unsnagging the photo-copier, etc.
Then I discovered the Catholic Church has more resources and is better organized than I am (which was not a huge surprise). There were already real saints with these various portfolios - or something close. There are also some very charming stories about some of the saints which are probably apocryphal but then most of what makes the front pages of the the magazines and newspapers at the grocery checkout is of dubious authenticity. That they led exemplary lives, I don't doubt and that miracles have been ascribed to them but I suspect some of the legends developed and survived because they make such good stories.
So this little project in paper maché seeks to celebrate some of the well known and more obscure saints and the folklore surrounding them. These are not meant to be devotional works, I believe they are not suitable for a church or chapel - they belong in a domestic setting. Holy folk, who excelled in life or overcame great obstacles are heroes. I think they deserve a little more shelf space in our everyday lives. Forgive me but I find them more interesting than Elvis, Britney, Travolta or Celine.home