Seattle Unity’s new building is home to some magnificent art pieces, and we have recently added a webpage to showcase them: SeattleUnity.org/Art
. This is part of a blog series featuring building art and artists, including this article on the photography of artist Heidi Marsh. You can view this piece on L1 near the door to the Finance Office.
Artist Heidi Marsh with her piece, Hope, featured on L1 by the Finance Office. Photo by collaboration of interviewer Chieko Brower and Marsh.
Gaze upon Hope by artist Heidi Marsh, and one feels drawn closer and closer to the piece so as to fully immerse oneself in its message. What makes it so deeply textural? What is the media? Why is it so compelling? How many dimensions does it inhabit? Is it deep water reflecting hints of a brighter sky? Is it a dark sky punctuated with promises of light lurking in the clouds? Is it an image of the complex interior of our soul?
Speaking with the artist sheds much light on the spiritual depth and multi-dimensionality of this piece. “For me, art is my soul’s expression of the divine. It’s like I’m in another space, connecting to my Imago Dei – the embodiment of who God made me to be.” Even in childhood, Heidi found joy in creativity. The freedom to feed this passion, however, came much later, following a major life derailment that left her in a dark place. She and her son were both facing serious and life-changing medical challenges; she had to drop out of her master’s program. She had to change her plan; she had to change her entire life.
Piece by piece, she was guided in creating that new life. Refinishing a Habitat for Humanity ReStore furniture purchase ignited her passion that she eventually turned into a business. She then met her art mentor who taught her plaster and other Old World Finishes, helped her find and define her style, and turned her into a decorative artist. Heidi then applied those skills to the canvas. Working in mixed media – Italian plaster being her main media – she adds pigments and plasters to create meaningful abstract paintings. Heidi has recently delved into encaustics as well; “I just love to play!”
Then in April 2020, darkness enveloped Heidi’s life yet again. Her Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She took over her mother’s caregiving responsibilities for her Dad and became her Mom’s caregiver as well. She started painting Hope at that time. “I was feeling so hopeless. It was a way for me to communicate my desire for hope.”
Hope, by Heidi Marsh.
Photo provided by the artist.
Miraculously, hope has shown up. “God’s been putting the word in front of me so often, I have a folder on the phone of how much it shows up.” It’s a standing joke in her family but has been a sacred spiritual lifeline through continuing life challenges. Her heartfelt hope for all who gaze upon this piece is “…that despite whatever darkness you’re going through, there is always light, always hope, and that hope is God with us, Emmanuel.”
Heidi plans to pursue a master’s in theology; she wants to teach spirituality through the lens of art. Currently she enjoys doing commissions, finding joy in learning what people’s stories are, what they want in art, and how to draw that out and create that for their space.
See more of Heidi’s powerful work at:
Heidi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.