Batik Fabric in Clergy Stoles?

One of our frequently asked questions is “what is batik fabric?” We love using these unique cottons that are often fair trade from sources spanning the globe. They are usually very colorful and vibrant in their patterning. This makes them very visually interesting.

The official definition of “batik” is that it is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth or cloth made using this technique. Originating in Indonesia, batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a tjanting or by printing the resist with a stamp.

Enjoy this video demonstrating the process —

And these are details of some of our clergy stoles featuring batik fabrics …

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You can see why we love these fabrics! They are full of life in their designs and color ways. See our entire inventory here or email us with questions - jenny.gallo@CarrotTopStudio.com .

Why Clergy Stoles? Smells and Bells!

I usually start my day with a devotion from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. The May 4 guiding of song, scripture and prayer ended with some thoughts titled, “Smells and Bell.” Sharing parts of it here —

We worship a God who came as a material Savior. So when we pray, we can use all of our senses. We see symbols of our faith. We hear words and songs. We smell the incense of our prayers rising to God. We touch and taste Christ in the sacramental life. Just as a whiff of apple pie can conjure up nostalgic memories of home, so our incense can help us pray. But, as Amos declare, if all we have is incense , without justice for the poor and fruit from our prayers we should snuff out the incense and shut up with our songs, because they are nauseating to God. If our material tools help us worship the eternal God and bear fruit for the kingdom, then we keep them. If our material tools lead to narcissism or to an obsession with having the right incense or the correct color of candle, then we need to let go of them. Disagreements in church history have led many Christians to feel like the physical world and the spiritual word are at odds, but it’s important to see them as complements , not opposites. After all, God breathed into the dirt to make humanity. The incarnation of Jesus is all about God taking on flesh and being born as a baby who cries, eats and poops. Jesus uses physical stuff like dirt and split to heal people, and God is always communicating — through rocks and fire (even through a donkey). Physical stuff can help us pray. In the celebration of communion, or the Eucharist, we eat bread and drink wind in remembrance of Jesus. The physical elements help us literally “re-member” Jesus as we are knit together into his body. We are what we eat. A lot of the most sacred and beautiful rituals of Christianity are mysterious. There is more going on than what we see, but what we see can hep us know God at work in the world. ...

I’ll be the first to admit that clergy stoles like what we create and sell at Carrot Top Studio are not necessary for ministry. But likewise they aren’t unworthy in worship. We pray that the stoles can be used as great complements to help us “re-member” Jesus as we carry on in this business of worshipping and living it out.

Detail of an  Ordination/Pentecost  stole.

Detail of an Ordination/Pentecost stole.

Clergy and Wedding Officiants: A new stole design!

Do you have an idea for a stole but can’t find in any store or eCommerce site? Tell us about it! It could be that we could take it on as a one of a kind commission. But we often find what one client needs that is reason to offer it to others also. Such was the case when I client asked if we could create a wedding stole for her pastor husband who often preached about the four loves from the Greek translation of the word. This was a great idea! I mean …. geez that sermon message makes so much sense it was even in my wedding service way back in 1986!

We got to work! This is a detail of the completed stole. Below is the hope, faith and love symbol that is on the stole chest. See the stole in full here. The good news for our client with the good idea is that because she agreed to let us create a limited edition and offer the stole on the website it saved her the cost of a one of a kind commission! That’s a win for all :)

Lent collection of clergy stoles

We’re pleased to share our 2019 collection of purple stoles for Lent. …

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Passion cross

A simple stole with a base of beautiful purple batik.

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A bit of red recalls the passion.

Palm leaves accent the stole in several ways.

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Labyrinth walking is a perfect Lenten activity.

This stole was created with that ministry tool in mind.

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Organic fabrics and many shades of purple.

An earth friendly option for Lent.

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A cross on the back tip is a nice detail.

This is a new version of our popular striped journey stole.

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Shadow of the cross stole

We were inspired by the border fabric!

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Passion cross stole

$143.00

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Ombre fabric

Perfect for a stole for Lent!

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Three crosses stole

The base fabric accentuates the roughness of this time.

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Palm to spear stole

Telling the story of Lent

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Holy week stole

Bold, graphic imagery

A Commisisoned Clergy stole

A client wrote to us: I have a flannel shirt that belonged to my grandfather (he died 35 years ago but I kept the shirt because he is wearing it in my favorite pictures of him). If I sent it to you, could you somehow incorporate the fabric into a stole?

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We received the stole and found this lovely bit of mending on the elbow. Our client reported that this was probably the work of her grandmother and yes we could incorporate it into the design! Additionally we found a patch inside one cuff and some gold satin lining behind the shoulders that could be used.

The client graciously added in her notes: No rush. Let the Spirit move you; after all, it’s been in my closet since his death in 1983.........!!

We next shared the following fabric combinations and the sketch with a cost estimate and timeline for the work.

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After receiving a green light from our client and having a bit of time to actually create the work we were able to send this stole on it’s way. These kinds of commissions are such a privilege to be able to do. Thank you for trusting Carrot Top Studio with this work!


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And So Forth... because one thing led to another!

We've been watching the trends of mindful (hand) stitching and decorative mending evolve in the world of those that sew. It's happening on quilts, clothing and accessories. We saw a great example of this while in Madison, WI this summer. Here is a detail from the exhibit by artist Heidi Parkes at Blue Bar Quilts. 

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Then a client sent us her grandfather's flannel shirt with the proposition of honoring this special someone in her life by incorporating the shirt fabric into a stole. Upon thinking about the commission and examining the shirt we discovered some visible hand stitching that had been used to mend the well worn shirt. Now we're incorporating this touch of the client's grandmother's hands into the stole also. What an honor it is to take on this commission!

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And that led us to our latest addition to our Christmas stole collection. We think this prototype is a start of additional hand stitching on our stoles. The more we conjured the design of this stole we grew attached to the thought of God mending us and the world through Jesus. See how the pictured details of the stole were incorporated into the entire design here.

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Artistic Inspiration in New York City

October found my husband and I celebrating our birthdays in New York City for a long weekend. And it was full of art, fabric and inspiration! A glimpse of al that —

An inspirational mural viewed while walking the High Line.

An inspirational mural viewed while walking the High Line.

Shopped for fabric in the Garment District. Wow!

Shopped for fabric in the Garment District. Wow!

So much art in the subway stations! This was a favorite.

So much art in the subway stations! This was a favorite.

Inspiration.

Inspiration.

Vestments in the Armenian art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vestments in the Armenian art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Found the needle and button sculpture!

Found the needle and button sculpture!

I see what you did there: Creating clergy stoles

The details are important to our story telling in our products. It may be subtle but it's just part of the way we make the visual connection to the Word for worship. As you perused our website did you spy these background fabrics that inspired the stole design --

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This Advent stole has an accent fabric that has a visually rough texture (not rough to the touch). This is a reminder of the rough world that Jesus arrived into. He came to save. That roughness carries on today doesn't it?

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It's subdued but do you see the heart cross in the delicate white and gold border fabric? That was our jumping off point to use symbols to tell of God's love as spoken of in John 3:16. Read more about this Christmas stole here. 

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Discovering the focal point fabric on this stole made us think of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We celebrate on Palm Sunday and then recall for the next week the suffering and death that follows until we greet Easter. This stole is embellished with hand painted palms
to accentuate the palms in the stole fabric.

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This one of a kind stole is embellished with flowers to represent new life and rebirth. Additionally the base fabric is a subtle batik of pink roses. How fitting is that when you think of the rose as a symbol for Mary, the mother of Jesus ... the vessel that allowed the story to start.

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The appliquéd leaves on this stole represent growth in a marriage. Like the examples above, the symbols mimic what is seen in the background fabric. Read more about this "growing together"
wedding stole here.

Creating a clergy stole with a boat theme

Late this summer I planned a retreat at the beach in North Carolina. The goal was to read, be silent, seek God's presence in the quiet and work in my sketchbooks. I knew that this would be during hurricane season. But I really didn't think a hurricane would impact the trip! And then Hurricane Florence roared into the coast. I moved to plan B and landed in the sailing capital of North Carolina — Oriental. Despite seeing the hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico last year (blog post here) it was eye opening to be in North Carolina so shortly after the destruction had occurred. But as I learned from the gentleman from FEMA that I sat next to on the airplane each hurricane is different .

I had not been in Oriental before but quickly learned that many people in this area are professional fishermen. The site of boats on top of piers and swept onto the land was quite unsettling. This is in addition to the many homes that we saw that looked like they belonged in a war zone with their entire contents on the street for trash pick up was unsettling to say the least.

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The marinas inspired a new limited edition of stoles. See the creamy white Baptism version here and the Ordinary Time version here.

Below is a glimpse of the work in progress. The boats were added next!

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We will gladly be sending $50 to the American Red Cross for hurricane disaster assistance for each stole in this limited edition that is purchased. 

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Each morning I sat by the Neuse river and read Invitation to Retreat by Ruth Haley Barton. I'd recommend this in preparation for a retreat (in a large group or as an individual) and for the suggested tasks while on a retreat. Despite not having my toes in the sand this time was restorative and thought provoking.

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Driving in this beautiful state also allowed me to admire fields of cotton. I stopped and uttered thanksgivings for the farmers and harvesters that take this amazing plant and get it to those that create the fabrics we use in our products! It was a week of experiencing many blessings.

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And the resulting stole! See the Baptism stole here and the Ordinary Time stole here.

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A Commission for an Installation clergy stole

It’s always extra special to create for someone I know personally and recently that was the case. My own faith community was kind enough to request a stole for the Installation of one of our pastors. The final product wasn’t revealed until Installation worship but this pastor and I worked together to create the design. The following is an example of what the commission process is like at Carrot Top Studio.

Knowing that the gifting party had requested a green stole we started the process by asking the pastor for some words or images that were important for design inspiration. He replied with:

“laughter, Puerto Rico, abundance, the Holy Spirit,

God sees us (like Peter saw the lame man at the temple gates)”

That was an interesting list that proved to be a test of our abilities to connect visuals with. That happens sometimes, but we also love a challenge!

Our first sketch included a sun to represent the New Testament symbol of the believer’s walk and a reminder of the pastor’s roots in Puerto Rico where the sun (usually) shines. A descending dove was included for the Holy Spirit with surrounding swirls to represent joy and laughter. An oak tree/cross growing out of an acorn was chosen to recall the fact that great results can be born of humble beginnings and also to speak of the abundance mentioned in John 10:10.

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We always consider a commission a process and will not move into the creation phase until the client and our studio are both pleased with the plan. And I’m afraid we missed our mark with the first attempt at sketching! Round two found us presenting these two new ideas:

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What would you have done? We settled on the sketch on the left but swapped the cross for a descending dove that had active lines that mimicked the joyfulness of the border. And here is the result —

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