Meet AlanaWritten by admin on Dec 14, 2016 in - No Comments
Alana Lambert, who attends Church at the Well with her husband Steve, grew up in a military family and moved more than twenty times during her youth. She works at CarePartners, an adult day center in St. Albans, where she brings hope to people suffering from dementia. Though Alana is looking toward retirement in a few years, her children say she stopped growing at age seventeen. She loves to hoola hoop—case in point! Intrigued by the Advent wreath she crafted for Church at the Well, I wanted to find out a little more about her art and life.
Tell me a little about your art.
When I retire, I’m shooting to be a full-time artist. I’m going to be a Grandma Moses! I’ve done a lot of banners—quilts with pictures God has shown me. I have one in India and one in New York City. I like to paint. I like the instant gratification of it. I take fabric, and I dye it with many types of dyes and salts and sugars. I put plant life on top in the sun and do a photosynthesis of it. Then I put it on a canvas and paint on top of that. I’m working on 22 paintings at the moment.
Recently, you created a stunning and highly imaginative Advent wreath for Church at the Well. What inspired you to create the wreath as you did?
The inspiration was: everyone needs to draw from the well. We’re to draw from the well, but we’re also to give to others. Wherever you go, make sure you bring that water with you to share with others. We don’t have to be super spiritual people, we just have to be willing to ask, Are you thirsty?
What about the people gathered around the well? I’ve never seen an Advent wreath with people in it!
Historically, the well was a meeting place. There are so many different types of people here. It’s a little like Burlington. When I was making this, I kept hearing, Don’t forget about them—whether they’re young, old, tattooed. Don’t forget about the person with the blue hair.
Can you describe your creative process?
It’s funny how God inspires me to do things. I know it’s from him because he gets me up 100 times that night. I’ll get cozy, and then he’ll pop something in my brain. When I was in worship, I started to see a well. The image just started building. Like teaching Sunday school or leading a Bible Study, you end up getting more than what you pour out. I put a lot of hours into this. It is a gift to you [the church], but I think I got the bigger present.
Has someone’s art or creativity ever ministered to you before?
I have a special friend named Luke Mann who is a wood turner. He would take burls (the knot, which is the hardest part of a tree) and make them into beautiful bowls. Many trees at UVM had to be cut down after an ice storm that hit Vermont a number of years ago, so Luke went to the college and asked if he could have some of the wood. He made bowls with it and gave some to the college as a thank-you. The college ended up ordering about 50 bowls because of how beautiful they were. Luke suffered from Lyme disease for fourteen years before receiving a diagnosis. Through his pain, Luke chose to make art—creating something beautiful out of something that wasn’t. That inspires me.
Recently, you and Steve traveled to Ireland and France to celebrate the Menards’ daughter’s wedding. Can you tell me about a highlight of the trip? Did the trip change you in any way?
My Dad was an engineer in the military overseas, and he found himself in a lot of dangerous situations abroad. He always told me, “Alana, you don’t want to go overseas. We’re in the most blessed nation in the world.” I grew up with that attitude. When the Menards asked Steve and I to travel with them to Ireland for their daughter’s wedding, I had to overcome so much fear that I didn’t even know existed. I felt God was going to show me something on this trip, and I asked a few women at church to pray for me. I had fear from the time I left my house: fear of flying, fear of border crossings, fear of terrorism, fear of heights as we drove the narrow cliff-side roads on the Dingle Peninsula. What God was teaching me on this trip was to take my eyes off my fear and put my eyes on Him.
Flying back to Montreal, I was in the window seat, and, for at least twenty minutes, I could see the shadow of our plane encircled by a full rainbow as we flew above the clouds. God was saying, “See, I brought you home full circle. I was with you the whole time.” It was a really big deal that I took this trip. I climbed my Mt. Everest.
Do you have a favorite verse in scripture?
The Bible is a smorgasbord, and you want me to have the radish? [Laughter]
Interview conducted by Abigail Carroll