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the do-it-yourself lodge

at san francisco's logos lodge no. 861,
creativity is the name of the game

By Ian A. Stewart

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James Tucker is describing the officers’ aprons that members of his lodge, Logos Lodge No. 861 in San Francisco, have designed. They’re an attractive green, gold, and white on the outside—a square-and-compass logo shrouded in Acacia leaves beneath a triangle-within-a-circle design on the flap. On the reverse side, they’re black leather with a white, hand-painted skull design. Each one is hand-painted and unique to the wearer; a symbol of their higher existence is included on each apron. Tucker himself has painted several such designs for members, but, he confesses, “I’d rather they do it themselves.”

That’s become something of a mantra for Logos Lodge, the two-year-old group that may well be the most artistically inclined bunch in the state. Since their founding in 2018, members of Logos Lodge have taken it upon themselves to design and create just about every piece of Masonic regalia they own, among them the hand-painted aprons; gavels; a lodge banner; and their lodge identification jewels, which feature a spherical checkerboard floor beneath a radiating star-within-a-triangle design, itself inside an ornate square-and-compass. “Creativity is so special to a lodge,” Tucker says. “We’re founded on that.”

Logos’ handmade artistic sensibility has permeated other facets of lodge business, as well: As candidates complete their degrees, their accompanying work pieces have begun tending toward mixed media. Patrick Clos, raised in 2018, wrote and performed songs for each of his degree conferrals. (In his spare time, Clos is the frontman of the rock group Cocktails.) Another member, Kevin Jones, is a videographer by day and has been planning a video piece for his degree.

But perhaps the piéce de resistance for Logos is the 20-foot-long floor cloth that members of the lodge designed and hand-painted. The carpet, which candidates are guided along during their Fellow Craft degree, alludes to King Solomon’s temple as an allegory for the soul’s journey. Lodge Chaplain Robert Haines helped design the piece, with an assist from Tucker, who hand-painted it with a wax-based crayon of sorts.

A background in art is by no means a prerequisite at Logos Lodge—in fact outside of Tucker, who runs the San Francisco letterpress shop Aesthetic Union, most members of the 15-person lodge don’t work in the arts. Rather, Tucker says, it’s an appreciation for that DIY spirit that’s the lodge’s main shared value. “It’s that feeling of being able to stand in front of something and be proud of it,” he says, “Like, ‘This came from my brain. And now it’s real.’”

PHOTO CREDIT: Paolo Vescia

More from this issue:

Our Fraternal Gift

Folk art has long provided Masons with a creative outlet through which they can share their craft, inspire pride, and provide joy, says Junior Grand Warden Jeff Wilkins.

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