Progress on our Month of Sundays Project

Our project was simple: both of us sit in front of the same window every Sunday. One would describe in pictures; the other, poetry. The aim: to capture through shared art practice what the anecdote presents as an exaggerated condition of time. At session number thirty or so, we knew the experience had already been successful.

Here are some of the latest images (podcasts, videos, and other media on the project available throughout our blog).

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These squares represent the passage, roughly, from fall to winter, or late October to November. Each page of the sketch pad is window-eye’s view of a calendar month, four Sundays.

Above, is a draft—only a snippet of Sara’s prodigious writing output during a single Sunday session. Each session runs about two hours long, by the way, and by the end of a typical stint, Sara goes through several pages of drafting.

Nov 18 soft pastels

Nov 18 soft pastels

another poem draft from a Sunday session by Sara

another poem draft from a Sunday session by Sara

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from Sep 30 to Oct 21… A week? of Sundays

from Sep 30 to Oct 21… A week? of Sundays

the view that inspires it all. Sara’s “Through One Pane” appears as well.

the view that inspires it all. Sara’s “Through One Pane” appears as well.

This view took up the hour or two of a vivid November Sunday.

This view took up the hour or two of a vivid November Sunday.

We give thanks this holiday season for the gifts of togetherness and time, which this project both reflects and honors in our lives.

Month of Sundays -- An Art and Life Project for Two

We have been working on a project lately combining art and ordinary living. These are the best kinds of art projects, after all—we especially enjoy the act of recording the world as we live in it through art.

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This project is based on a cliche you’ve heard before.

How long will it take?

If quite a long while, as the saying goes, it might take a “month of Sundays.”

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But what does the phrase mean? Sunday, considered holy and also a bit slowly (at least in comparison with busier days of the week) is a day that gathers its own time rhythms to it. Sunday has a different time to it than other days, a different temporality. That’s just one Sunday. Just think of the stretched out time for reflection, sacred contemplation, and just laying around that a whole month of them would hold.

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The premise: Interrupt our usual ways of spending uncollected time together by creating a ritual around a picture window in our living room. Every Sunday we would sit at the window together. One would sketch the view in poetry as the other did so in pencils, and together we would produce a fuller picture of the shared time spent between us.

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Our Month of Sundays project is as much an effort to “keep” our time together as it is an effort to make time. In every view and in every poem, we make together in order to draw attention to the life and time we make together.

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michael chaney and sara chaney poem month of sundays draft Red Carnation.jpg

Sessions usually take a little over an hour. At first, we would have to squeeze in the time to sit together on the same bench inside our home (the same bench that once served as our daughter’s toy box) to watch a concrete bench outside of our home as it resolutely weathered the seasons. After a while, though, our Month of Sundays ritual became an anticipated event. You don’t need to “schedule” or “plan for” something you’re looking forward to all week.

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Whereas Michael aimed to produce a single image for every session, filling a quarter page of the sketchbook each Sunday, Sara’s drafts of poetry spill across many pages.

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A simple lesson learned—when you make a single day special through shared practices of being together while observing the extraordinary in the ordinary, you acquire a deepened sense of the significance of each passing moment.

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This specific portion of the project is nearing a point of closure, but only in the conventional sense of there being only thirty or so days in a month. Our practice has changed our thinking about time. We no longer define a day or a month in terms of their limits or endings.

We plan on continuing our works of days and months, looking and seeing together through apertures we choose.

A Window is a View with Character

Whenever searching for ideas, we tend to get lost in the details. Answers hide like the truth, in plain sight. Consult your own windows and you'll see.

A window is only a way or means for seeing, after all.

This is the view from one of our favorite windows in the living room. It admires explosions of morning light captured over the Connecticut River.

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Windows are expert reality carvers, and we wanted to learn all we could from this one. We tried to capture its point of view in our Almanac #4.

Can you spot it?

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Each window is a mailbox

The red flag is up. More messages await your seeing.