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Love and Text 

Artist Julia Kennedy commemorates friendships and shared creativity in her collaborative book, Sacred Texts.

The Greek classic elements---earth, air, fire, water and aether---deeply influenced European thought and culture. Julia Kennedy believes the foundation of all art is based upon these five pillars. She compiled Sacred Texts, a patchwork of hand-scrawled and typewritten narratives from 10 local artisans, to commemorate five years spent creatively among friends.

“The people included in the compilation are all very special people in my life,” says Kennedy, over coffee at Cousin’s Snack Bar. “We have inspired each other, shared with each other, loved each other, eaten together, lived together, danced together, cried together, laughed together. I am in love with them all.”

Officially released December 12, the weekend of Lost & Found’s inaugural Black Christmas, the compilation features Sojourner Truth, Natalie Howard, Romy Lightman, Sari Lightman, Amy Funk, Mackenzie Burke, Sarah Hollands, Aaron MacLean, Alex van Helvoort and Kennedy.

Sacred Texts is available at Lost & Found for $25. The walls of the local vintage and art shop are still covered in drawings and thoughts by Truth, Howard and Kennedy. Each member of the proverbial coven is moving on and veering off in various directions, everywhere from New York to Europe.

For the opening, Kennedy transformed her apartment above The Grainery Food Co-Operative into a gallery space of sorts. The majority of her belongings were placed in the kitchen, the futon mattress hung up in the bathtub with black electrical tape and the floor was lit by plastic seasonal candelabras. Pages from sketchbooks, haunting confessions painted in black on white walls, feathers, crystals, oversized cardboard crafted flowers and illuminated crosses covered the space. Instruments were artfully placed on the floor, like rocks around a campfire, in the middle of what presumably was the bedroom. The full moon and hurricane-like weather conditions seemed befitting of the occasion. Later, the Ghost Bees provided a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

“I’m very interested in forming documents that reflect the feeling of the now, as reflected through my own existence,” says Kennedy. “Everyone included in the book is an artist, writer and musician. We’ve all been working around each other for the last five years. I was curious to see what kind of connecting thread could be seen in our written words, in a sense the blossoming, and most intimate expressions of our hearts.”

Darkness always seeps into the light, as the black text on stark white pages contrasts the hopeful, yet earnest statements. Truth recalls first meeting Kennedy when their hair was black, their clothes were bold and both had boyfriends who were all wrong. She writes in her confessional pencilled handwriting, “I had a feeling I could be someone” and “I am so happy to be living now with all of you.” Sacred Texts is like a love letter among friends, a photo album without any pictorial evidence. It’s the tether that ties these souls together.

Hollands’ story “chutney” speaks metaphorically in the language of home, nourishment, love and longing. Howard writes in all caps about the darkness of her dreams, the prehistoric and remains of time. In small, carefully constructed cursive letters Romy Lightman writes of Isis and the forgotten songs. Sari Lightman’s “Dorchester Cape” portrays her belief in whales and pretty girls in tartan lace.

Kennedy confesses in calligraphy her own inner witch; pleads for artist Elizabeth Peyton to touch her, darkness sister; declares she fucked Kurt Cobain; and reminds readers, “You only get one life to live live.” Funk builds a pyramid of mes and yous. Burke wipes away the brain fluid and writes a bizarre yet entertaining short story, “Head Milk.” Van Helvoort waxes poetic beneath the light of the moon and measures the beats of a human heart.

“I think that the types of things I find sacred in my life are things that I have a pure and honest connection with,” Kennedy says. “Therefore I have a deep respect for. I think what we do is positive; there is no room for any bad intention. The title Sacred Texts refers to the fact that all these people who I love are my teachers and add to the meaning I find in my life, so their words are sacred.”

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