Dear Friends,

In an attempt to bring more simplicity and order to my life, I'm consolidating all of my art ventures in one place. Please find me at: www.phaedrataylor.com. You can view Ambrosium style projects under the "Liturgical Design" section of my portfolio.

Thank you!


Studio Shot: New Space

Icons over my work space: Ambrose and the True Vine

A few months ago, I moved from a fancy place in a studio complex full of artists to an un-used Sunday School classroom in an old church. I have to say, I prefer my new studio. Its cracked walls and faded linoleum floors suit me. The renovated warehouse space--complete with modern sliding barn doors--that I came from was beautiful to look at, but I always felt slightly on display. I never knew who might want to come in a take a look while I worked. It was great for meeting people, but not ideal for making work.

My new place is perfectly private. Most times, the only other people on my end of the building are kids from the Hispanic youth group, running down the halls or singing away on their guitars.  There are also a music school, a pre-school, other artists, rented office space, and two churches that share the space.

 While it is lively and energetic, I can hide away and enjoy all that action from a distance in my corner room. It certainly doesn't hurt that the building is just blocks away from out favorite tortilleria.

The space is plain; it's just a big open room, really, but it motivates me to get to work, which I really need to do since my studio time is limited these days. I walk in, turn on my wax, put my apron on and I'm ready to go. No people to talk to. No aimless wandering. No could-be but probably-won't-be patrons. Just me, my materials, time, and the space to hover over these larger pieces that I'm currently working on.

I'm sure there will be another season were I'll have a more public or communal space, but for now I love my quiet hole on the corner of Roxboro and Ellerbee.


For Blythe

Ruby Blythe Marie is my daughter's name. Her hair is nearly red and, to my mind, she possesses super delicious cheeks. She's happiest when outdoors, reading, dancing or being tickled. Her first word was "hat." When she's happy, her belly does a little wiggle that just slays me. She's afraid of fire truck sirens but will tromp alone into deep-wooded wilderness without a bit of concern. She is the most delightful thing I've ever experienced.

Golden Hearts to Guard & Open Spaces to Guide, encaustic, oil, and paper on wood, 30 x 40, 2013 

I started this painting for her last spring; only recently did I complete it. I wanted to make her something that she could hold onto her whole life--and enjoy looking, knowing and being known by it. I sincerely hope that it will inspire her toward the life which I pray for her daily. I tried, in fact, to make something that could hold all my prayers and yearnings for her in one visual experience. I was thinking about peace and big skies, gatherings of golden friends, growing, living things and some words that we've been praying for her since we knew she was living inside of me.

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -- Ephesians 3:14-21

The piece now hangs above her crib. Blythe points to it and talks about it all the time. Since it will be hidden away from the world for a while, I thought I'd make it available in the shop. It's now available as a print in both 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 14 sizes. Enjoy!


Thank You: Christmas, A New Year & A Coupon!

Happy New Year! I still can't quite believe it is 2013. What a strange number to have for a year. I always thought we would be flying around in jet powered cars by now. The end of 2012 was so full and busy. I'm really enjoying the beginning of a new year with it's clean, white slate of time stretching ahead of me. It's January 15th and I'm just now feeling like things are back to normal. We had a wonderful time traveling for Christmas, and the shop was very active right up until the day we left town. In fact we even carried some orders in our suitcases to be hand delivered. Now, it is time for planning, for dreaming up new things, for organizing, and for the dreaded accounting for January quarterly taxes.

I owe a big thank you to everyone who supported The Ambrosium this holiday season, and also to those who purchased things from my other shop, PhaedraJean ArtMachine. Thank you for purchasing, for spreading the word, blogging, liking, and giving gifts from the shops. It blessed me to know that so many of you responded to the things I was creating and dreaming up. Thank you, thank you!



I was delighted to watch more Advent Calendars than I ever expected fly out of the shop. One 5 am found me still putting stickers on bags and addressing packages, having been up all night to keep caught up with the orders. A great reason for being up that late (early?) but one I hope doesn't happen too often. I'm so grateful to everyone who purchased a calendar, and I hope that they helped you journey through Advent in a thoughtful way. The calendars are not in the shop anymore, but will be available again after some tweaking and re-design. I'm hoping to have have a 12 days of Christmas calendar available next season, and Advent Calendars with different themes: service, prayer, family, etc. They were so fun to put together, and it was wonderful knowing that other people were turning over their cards each day along with us.

My other shop was pretty busy also and I got to send out many Hobbit and Lord of the Rings prints from PhaedraJean ArtMachine. I know that many of you were excited about giving these as gifts, and I hope the recipients were delighted and surprised! Some new ones will appear soon in the other shop, as I just finished re-reading the book. I am all fired up about putting those good words into prints. I've just added some simple motivational prints to that shop as well. Great items for helping you kick start your year with a bit of pretty visual encouragement.

This year I'm excited about developing items that could be used for each of the seasons of the Church calendar, not just for Advent and Christmas. It helps me to have visual items in my home to remind me what time it is in the year. It centers me see things that tell me that, for example, it's Ordinary Time, and I can turn my heart toward the things God has for me in this season, or that it's Lent, and I'm reminded to pray.  My house is full of quotes, and art, and other little visual items to help me focus my heart and stay connected to Jesus and his Kingdom.

Keep an eye out for things like this to pop up in the shop. Hopefully they will help you travel through Lent, celebrate Easter, delight in Pentecost, and rest during Ordinary time. I'd also love to hear your ideas. What do you want in your home to help you be present to the seasons? What helps you keep a devotional heart during the day? What resources do you wish you could find?

If you purchased something from the shop during Advent or Christmas, or if you received something as a gift, I'd love to hear how it was used in your home or life. I'd also like to hear how you think it could be made better. I'm constantly tweaking ideas and items. Receiving input from people who are incorporating the cards, prints, calendars, and art works into their lives is invaluable to this process. As always, I'm happy to help you in any way I can. If you have questions about items in the shop, or ideas for custom things, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Lastly, I've added a new coupon code to the shop for everyone who has ordered something this past year. If you're a returning customer, you can enter "backagain" into the coupon code box when you check out & receive 10% off your order! Hurray!

Blessings on your head and Happy New Year!


Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas. Not much is known about Bishop Nicholas of Myra, but there are plenty of legends associated with his memory.  One of the stories about Nicholas tells of how he blessed a family with three girls. Here is the tale as told from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints:

"One of the best known of the legendary narratives which demonstrate Nicholas’ love for God and for his neighbor is the story of his provision of dowries for three unmarried young women. The story is told that the father did not have money sufficient for their dowries, so on three successive nights Nicholas threw a bag of money through an open window, thus providing dowries for the man’s three daughters and probably saving them from lives of shame and prostitution."

In honor of St. Nicholas, I will be giving 50% of today's sales from The Ambrosium Shop to a wonderful organization.  The San Jai Network is helping to connect church ministries and christian organizations who are working with women and children in Thailand effected by trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

If you have been waiting to put your Christmas order in, or if you've just remembered some folks you still need to find special gifts for, won't you consider purchasing something from The Ambrosium today? You'll not only be helping a small business, but also a grassroots ministry doing good work amongst those very much in need.

If you'd like to find out more about St. Nicholas, or are looking for resources to help your family learn about the real St. Nicholas, The St. Nicholas Center is a wonderful place to start.  Here is a wonderful book reproduced online at the St. Nicholas Center for Kids: The Life of St. Nicholas by Verena Smith, Illustrated by Emily Probst.  The site has many other books, poems, activities and games. You will also find prayers, recipes, hymns, art, and information about St. Nicholas celebrations around the world.

I hope you enjoy your own special St. Nicholas day!

 These vintage images are available as cards in the shop!


An Advent Gathering of Thistle Birds

I've collected another post from my old blog to add to the things I've listed here. This piece was made during Advent a few years ago. Enjoy! 

An Advent Gathering of Thistle Birds

An Advent Gathering of Thistle Birds
Encaustic collage: beeswax, found paper, colored pencil, ink, oil pastel
11x14, 2009

Advent is a chance to intentionally gather our hearts, bodies and minds together. The twenty eight days of Advent give us time for a gradual collecting of all the disparate and disjoined parts of ourselves.  Advent traditionally signifies a coming, especially of something extremely important. But Advent can also mean a coming into to place, view, or being.  My prayer is that Advent would be a time for us to collect ourselves gradually toward the place that Christ makes for us; that Christ would come more beautifully into view; and that we would come more fully into being in Him.  Traveling through the gradual collecting of Advent better enables us to be present to the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas. We have more of ourselves to give to Him because of the slow work of gathering. The feast of Christmas is made better by the quiet, meditational days of Advent. 
The center of this beeswax panel contains a Chi Rho surrounded by fourteen Goldfinches. Dating as early as the 2nd century, it is one of the oldest monograms representing Christ.  The Chi Rho is made up of the first two letters making the Greek word for Christ (khristos). Before it was used by Christians, pagan Greek scribes used the Chi Rho in place of the word “chreston” (which means “good”) to make note in the margins of important texts. Christians using the Chi Rho symbol would have been reminded of the pre-existent Christ and his earthly cruxifiction. According to the medieval bestiary, birds who are pictured with a Chi Rho symbolize human souls meditating on Christ. Goldfinches in particular represent victory over death. The goldfinch, which lives on a diet of thistles and thorns, reminds us of the suffering of Jesus and His resurrection. Sometimes called the Savior Bird, the goldfinch speaks to us of endurance, fruitfulness, and persistence.  Embeded under the Chi Rho are pages from the gospels telling of pivotal moments in the story of Christ: His entry into Jerusalem, His first miracle, the Last Supper , the Transfiguration, His resurrection, and His return. At the bottom of the panel lies Latin verse from the Advent hymn "O Come Emmanuel", translated: " Be our soul advent, disperse the dreadful clouds of night. Come!"  Purple and blue, the traditional colors of Advent, mark the panel as a reminder of the season in which it was made.  Beeswax holds all the layers together and works as a symbol for the word of God, which, in rabbinical schools, is said to taste like honey. As I painted on over 25 layers of wax, my soul got quiet and my heart centered. My prayer is that your journey of Advent be full of the same quiet, gathering work.  

Jesus, make us like a gathering of thistle birds.
Help us to gradually collect the pieces of ourselves around your coming, crucifixtion, and resurrection.
Be our soul Advent, our only place, our true view, our fullness of being.
Fill us with your honey, making us hold together inside your story.
Remind us of your goodness, you our amarantine Savior Bird.



Lenten Work

I'm slowly moving post over from my other blog. Here is one from a few years ago on a piece I made during a Lenten season. I've loved having this friend in my home for a few years, and am ready to let it go live with someone else. I'll be giving it a good buffing and listing it in the shop this week. Enjoy! 

Lenten Work:
During Lent I made two pieces but never posted pictures of the last one. Here are some images of that last piece. I am super happy with it, in fact it's hanging in my bathroom and I don't have plans on moving it any time soon.

"Purity of Heart"

These are square nails, which were made in this country during the period from 1820-1910. My friend Geno found them on the property where we live. I think they are quite beautiful. 

Made from wax, paper, book pages, square nails, oil pastel, and red string.

This piece excites me because I feel like it's an indication that I am finally starting to work more intuitively. Sometimes I work hard to fit so many layers of meaning into a piece, that it just becomes too full. I love the simplicity of this piece. It is usually hard for me to stop while a piece is simple enough; I often feel like I have not worked hard enough to stop.  I am thrilled that I might be learning how stop and be content with things sometimes not being so much work.

I think it might be about trusting myself and all the years of art making behind me, and believing that it does not always have to be hard. Maybe I'm also learning about grace. Soren Kierkegaard said: "Purity of heart is to will one thing". I think about that quote when I feel my mind is scattered and over-run with all that I have to keep up with. Perhaps in trying to work more simply I am practicing this muscle of willing one thing. Any way that that little gem can wriggle its way into my heart is welcome.