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Sacred Heart residents gather for Stories in Art

Poet and Sacred Heart resident Patricia Oplinger joined forces with artist Carol Funke Sept. 16 to hold a Stories in Art event at Sacred Heart Senior Living, 602 E. 21st St., Northampton.

Oplinger and Funke met in 2004 and have been working together since 2005. The women have a total of four books published together. The first three books - the “Circle of Life” trilogy - were originally intended to be one book.

“Scattered Rainbows” is the second book in the trilogy. This book features a piece of Funke’s work called “Sunset Through the Trees,” a favorite of Oplinger’s that has traveled around the country with her.

To open up the program, Oplinger read her poem “Sunset Through the Trees,” based on Funke’s piece with the same name.

Oplinger wrote:

“Do you marvel at sunsets? I do.

“If they’d happen 10 times a day,

“I’d watch them each time.

“They provide my basic needs.

“They feed my soul,

“Shelter me from depression,

“Clothe me in the fabric of life,

“Warm me with love,

“Cover me with peace.”

The four books are considered ekphrastic, a Greek word meaning “a work of art that is telling how a person feels about another work of art.”

Sometimes Oplinger bases her poetry off Funke’s artwork, and sometimes the art is based on an already written poem.

Oplinger writes poems in every genre and aims to make ordinary things extraordinary. Her poetry has also been featured in a short chapbook and multiple anthologies with other poets.

Funke, who currently lives in South Carolina, lived in China for a time due to her husband’s job. There, she learned to make paper and now uses handmade paper in each of her pieces.

Funke showed a few pieces from their newest book, “Whys and Other Whys: Wise and Otherwise.”

One of those pieces - a blue and white design called “Integrated” - is a scherenschnitte, or a work of art created by cutting paper into decorative designs. Another is called “Ticker Tape,” which looks like a colorful quilt.

The final red and yellow piece called “Starlight, Starbright” was made from books. Funke made multiple pieces in this style. In “Whys and Other Whys,” the artwork is black and white.

Artist Carol Funke holds one of her pieces, called “Integrated,” during a Stories in Art event held Sept. 16 at Sacred Heart Senior Living, 602 E. 21st St., Northampton.
Patricia Oplinger holds a piece of Funke's work called “Sunset Through the Trees,” which inspired her own poem of the same name.
PRESS PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA SANTO Funke's colorful and textured piece “Ticker Tape” is shown here.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHRISTINA SANTO Patricia Oplinger reads a poem from her second book with Carol Funke, “Scattered Rainbows,” during a Sept. 16 Stories in Art event at Sacred Heart Senior Living, 602 E. 21st St., Northampton.