Carrot Top Studio creates unique ministry stoles for clergy, wedding officiants and chaplains. This blog post share how we were inspired by getting out of the studio.Read More
Since moving to Michigan three years ago we've been hearing about the beauty of this state's Upper Peninsula and we finally made time to visit. I anticipated being awed by the abundance and variety of trees. And that was true! What surprised me was the water. From large to small lakes, rivers, creeks, and waterfalls the water was inspiring to hear, touch, admire the clarity, and view so many different colors. For example, this photo is from Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The amber color of the water is derived from the tannins in the surrounding trees. The sound of it dropping over the 50 foot fall was powerful. And the patterns the foam made in the water recalled marbleized paper ... our Creator the artist at it again!
Many world religions celebrate the symbol of water. Christians use water in four different ways:
- to recall birth,
- to evoke death,
- to typify renewal,
- and to suggest washing.
Gail Ramshaw points out in her book Treasures Old and New, that water also functions as a symbol of one another in the church. Filled with the Spirit, we nourish one another. "We are a cup of water for one another ... Christ the water, incarnating God's water of creation, flows continuously in the Spirit, who waters the believers, who themselves become the spring of living water in the world."
Often when we are able to step outside the studio we are inspired to create. If you hadn't guessed already, we're working on a water themed stole. You can watch it's progress on Instagram or see the announcement of it's completion on Facebook. We aim to have it on the website next week!
One thing led to another.
First a stole was purchased through our online stole. Several years later, upon ministering at a new church, a commission was entered into led by this same pastor. This project included stoles, Communion table cloths and paraments for the pulpit/lectern. The process became a collaboration as the Church year rolled along. With each new season we emailed back and forth our ideas, sketches and fabric swatches until a plan was ready to be executed in our Michigan studio.
Just when we were mourning the end of the year long work we were thrilled to receive a request for a new piece of fiber art for the pastor's study. The parameters were to first have it fit a 46 x 56" space. Secondly the pastor thought maybe the rich illuminations of the St. John's Bible would be able to provide inspiration. We did some cartwheels at this news and dug in to make plans!
The resulting piece (above) has a creation theme based on the words in the book of Genesis. The use of batik fabrics add depth to the work. The story art is told through appliquéd images and symbols and is accented by sheer fabrics, metallic textile paint and free motion embroidery details. The finishing touch was the machine quilting done by Jane Clark of Jane Quilts. The wavy quilt lines move from open/fluid to tight/closed to add to the energy of the creation story.
As we recently traveled to a mini-vacation on the east coast we were passing by the pastor's church so had the honor of unveiling the work face to face. This is a rare treat and it was wonderful to be able to talk about the art and see it in situ.
Image description, left to right:
- heaven and earth/light and dark
- sky and sea
- land and vegetation
- stars and moon
- life in water and birds
- creatures on dry land, and
Using fine art, not just clip art or graphic art can add to the meaning of worship or deepen our connection to our faith outside of worship. Below is a piece for upcoming Christ the King Sunday. It could be used on it's own but would be even better for the viewer if a few guiding questions were asked to help the thought process. For example:
- are you attracted to this work?
- what is it that holds your interest?
- does it remind you of anything? (a story, a memory, an idea?)
- what is your eye first drawn to?
- how do you think it was made?
- what do you know about the culture of the time the artist made this?
- do you recognize any symbols in this art?
- can you extend the scene? what might have happened right prior or after this moment?