Sackcloth and Ashes: Burlap Sculptures Reflect Christ’s Humanity

First Communion dresses

There were so many great vendors at the CMN, selling

Olive wood nativity sets from the Holy Land












Hand painted statuary

And of course, books!












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From “Sackcloth and Ashes” to a Modern-Day Masterpiece

One display that garnered a lot of attention was this one, from an organization called Canning Hunger.  Called “Sackcloth and Ashes,” the collection of intricate burlap sculptures of Jesus came in three versions:

  •  The Teacher
  • Crown of Thorns, and
  • Prince of Peace

Hand crafted, as they were, from rough burlap, the life-size images would be a handsome wall sculpture in a home, church or office.  I loved the fine detail captured in Jesus’ crown of thorns and his beard, and the powerful portrayal of the gentle sadness of Christ during His Passion.

Besides that, though, I loved the mission of Canning Hunger:  to motivate, recruit, train, equip, and deploy volunteers to help the disadvantaged and working poor without discrimination.  Canning Hunger deploys over 200,000 volunteers each year, and provides over 50,000,000 meals to hungry kids and their families each year in America.

The Artisans who craft the burlap Jesus are trained by artist Scott Warden, who created the sculpture series in 1996.  The sculptures are created in studios in the United States and in Cambodia.

  • Here in the U.S., the Artisans are drawn from transitional living homes where they are in recovery from drugs, alcohol, abuse or other life circumstances.  On-the-job training equips them for the future, and provides a modest income during their recovery.
  • In Cambodia, the Artisans are rescued from sex slavery, prostitution, and human trafficking.  Their above-average wage plus health care provides a safe work environment and helps them to find housing and escape from the street life.

Over 80% of all proceeds from the sale of “Sackcloth and Ashes” sculptures help feed hungry kids and their families in America and help support the Artisans, here in the U.S. and in Cambodia, during their journey to recovery, restoration, dignity, and self-reliance.

For information about the ministry of Canning Hunger or to place an order for the burlap Jesus sculptures, visit their website at, or email