I believe we're all creative and use creativity in our daily lives. Weren't you creative when you explained to your children why they couldn't watch a movie at 9:00 p.m. on a school night, when you last had a job interview and had to apply your experience to the interviewers questions or when you had to problem solve during a church committee meeting on how your members could be encouraged to be more invitational? Creativity does not escape many aspects of our lives.

Running a design studio I look forward to creative moments. This might be in the way that we market our work, how to answer a client that needs a Christmas stole overnighted to them because they forgot that Christmas happened on December 25th, or by finding design inspiration in daily occurrences. Here are a few of our past studio projects and the story behind how we were "creatively" inspired.
Both of my parents grew up in Kansas and I have vivid memories of driving to my grandparents house past splendid fields of sunflowers. Maybe this is why I have always been fond of this plant. When I read that sunflowers are symbolic of adoration because of the way they turn their heads to the sun and that some people use this as a play on words as a symbol of turning their head to the "son" I knew I needed to create a stole with sunflowers on it.

One summer my home congregation's Vacation Bible School had a theme of the gifts of the Spirit. The curriculum had messages that spoke to me and this stole design came from that dynamic time of music, craft, recreation and Bible study centered on Isaiah 11:2--

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— 

the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 

the Spirit of counsel and of power, 

the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD

This stole is currently available in our ordination collection here.

We worked with a client that introduced us to African symbols known as adinkra that are ever-present in Ghana. The symbols represent popular proverbs. They do not stem from Christianity but we were inspired by the heart symbol used in this culture that represents patience and tolerance and the circle that means greatness and leadership. Combined these symbols seemed a perfect inspiration for an Advent stole. 

I often also find motivation in church architecture and in bookstores. For example, when I see an anchor cross in a worship space I feel inspiration from this symbol/reminder of hope. One afternoon while having a creative stumbling block I headed to my local bookstore to hang out in the stacks. There I came across a wonderful book that documented and described the history of different cross symbols. We have used that reference to create many different versions of a stole that represents crosses of different cultures. This is one is in our current collection here (and it includes an anchor cross!)  

In conclusion I'll share what Alice Bass writes about creativity--"God is around us, above us and in us. When we explore our creativity in him, he is not shocked by our huge ideas. Our giant dreams shatter only our own puny agendas and the glass minds of those around us. We are safe in him." Through Carrot Top Studio I am thankful for the clients that support our creative endeavors. May we all all continue be open to using our inspiration and creativity because it has the potential to  lead to great things prescribed in Isaiah 43:19....See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up' do you not perceive it. I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.