Read about the Carrot Top Studio collection of red stoles suitable for Pentecost and Ordination.Read More
What I've learned in 15 years of owning and operating Carrot Top Studio ...
15 - Have faith in an idea. The goal was to be in business for 3 years and look where we are now!
14 - Designing for the seasons of preparation is a favorite.
13 - Communication is key.
12 - Red stoles sell well.
11 - Listening is key. You all have great ideas!
10 - I my taxman more than I did 15 years ago. And he shouldn't read anything into this ranking.
9 - Hard work is worth it.
8 - Writing is our strongest suit but after 405 blog posts there has been improvement.
7 - Learning and curiosity for the sake of the business has led to studying the scriptures and reading many. That's a joy.
6 - Social media can be a good thing. Thanks for linking with Carrot Top Studio!
5 - it's not all about the money - I really love what I do.
4 - Making charitable donations because through your purchases has been a special delight.
3 - Good photographs are important for an online business (duh!?) Check out the website for our recent improvements!
2 - My family is a really supportive bunch.
1 - Your compassion, caring, and encouragement make you the best clients to work with! I am so very thankful.
THANK YOU, thank you! Cheers to what is ahead :) …. signing off to go eat that cake!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The story behind a unique Advent stole by Carrot Top Studio.Read More
This new stole design embraces the brightness of the sunflower symbol. It's in our peace and healing collection but we think it also could be worn for joyful occasions or during Ordinary Time. When a stole is this versatile we consider it to by a good buy! Read the full descriptioee it in full here.
My head spins when creating for Ordinary Time. There are just so many visual directions to turn when making a connection to the Word for this part of the Church year. We're in the midst of using this collection of skin tone fabrics to illustrate Psalm 47:1 ....
We got this far ...
And then we spied these beautiful green batiks in a stash and started dreaming of the stole they would become! That's a sign we've been in the studio long enough today. Stay tuned to teh finished results of both of these projects.
This week we're reducing our inventory via auctions on eBay! This will allow room on the website for new clergy stole designs. See the auctions here. They all close the evening of Thursday, March 1, 2018
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!
Our thinking about and creating with the symbolism of flying geese started with a request from a client and this image on an Ordination stole. But what does it mean?
You've probably observed geese flying in a V formation. By doing this the goose in front creates uplift for the one behind. This allows for much greater flying range for the entire group. Community is a good thing for geese and for us!
And then there is the bit of when the lead goose gets tired he falls to the back and another takes over as leader. Similar to what we learn from Ephesians 4:16 ... "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
How about all the squawking we here from a group of geese? That's reportedly encouragement! I have a friend from elementary Sunday School days. She's a great encourager. I especially appreciated how she always knew when to call me when my Dad was so sick with cancer. This spring it was her mom who was ill and I tried to be reciprocal with my own kind of squawking.
But encourage each other, day after day... (Hebrews 3:13)
So we've carried on the flying geese imagery into our recent work. This time we adapted a traditional quilt block. We stumbled upon a historical use of this block on a recent bike ride in our hometown of Detroit. This is a sculpture honoring the underground railroad and the use of the flying geese patch as a hidden message that those looking for freedom were on the right path.
Here are snippets of our Carrot Top Studio flying geese latest creations. They include a full length stole, a short chaplain's stole and a table runner. Whether the flying geese are full of hidden messages or something that is loud and clear we hope there is something in this collection for everyone!
This spring, while in New Orleans, we took a side trip to Avery Island. The tour of how Tabasco Sauce is made was really interesting and we enjoyed the tasting afterward. Who knew that Tabasco flavored soft serve ice cream would taste so good?! Then we hopped in the car and roamed around the 170-acre garden with semitropical foliage while watching out for the sunbathing alligators that lined the Bayou Petite Anse. We were especially delighted encounter a rookery that was home to 1000's of snowy egrets. I could have watched them all day! As we walked back to the car seeing a feather on the ground reminded me of Psalm 91:3-5 --
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
Back in the studio we have created a series of work embellished with feathers as a reminder that God is shelter and a refuge when we are afraid. The psalmist likens God to a mother bird who protects her young. Isn't it wonderful that we can entrust ourselves to his protection?
Stories are told through art in so many different ways. We aim to create ministry stoles at Carrot Top Studio that are pieces of wearable fiber art that tell a story through their colors and symbols. When we read about the tradition of the Hmong people in Southwest China's story cloth we felt a connection to their artistry.
Our curiosity led us to finding this children's book, The Whispering Cloth written by Pegi Deitz Shea. The illustrations are unique because some are watercolors and others are photographs of actual embroidered story cloth. They were created by Anita Riggio and You Yang. The book follows the story of a young girl who works out painful memories of her childhood by creating art in her story cloth. She is slowly and carefully taught her skill by her grandmother. This is a book about survival of a resilient group of refugees. The main characters grandmother is an example of love and wisdom.
I'd recommend this book to anyone that works with refugees, is a refugee, or to be used as a story starter for an art project. Additionally I could see it used in lessons of learning compassion, patience and loving one another in a variety of educational settings. I remain grateful that God has given us art and visual connections to learn from, to remember by, and to grow through.