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.

About our Clergy Stole Business: Top three questions

Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. If this doesn't answer all of your questions do't hesitate to contact us at jenny.gallo@CarrotTopStudio.com or 412-480-4193. 

What length stole should I order?

There is no set rule as it depends upon your ministry style and whether you wear a robe or not. The best scenario would be to have someone help you use a cloth tape measure to measure from the back center of your neck to the edge of where the hem would be on one side of the stole. Or know that a 49" stole falls at the knee cap of a 5' 4" person with a thin frame and then gauge accordingly.

How long does shipping take?

Shipping is 2-3 business days within the USA via USPS Priority mail. Orders are fulfilled Monday-Saturday unless otherwise noted in the website announcement bar. Expedited 1-2 day shipping via USPS is an alternative option at checkout.

What if I don't see what I need on your website?

Don't hesitate to ask if there is a stole you like but it's not the correct length. We might be able to remake the stole in a longer length or hem a stole that is not short enough.

OR if you if an idea for a stole that is not in our current collection we would be glad to consider adding it as a limited edition to the website or creating it as a one of a kind commission. Email us here.

So much Ordinary Time!

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 ....

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We got this far ...

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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.

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A new eco-friendly clergy stole for Ordinary Time!

We've been following the work of Thread International for years. Partly because they work in Haiti and partly because we are always on the look out for fabrics that are created in a sustainable manor ... it's our little way of honoring creation. As an experiment we ordered some of Thread's blue denim that is made from recycled bottles in Haiti by Haitians. This isn't our normal base fabric type or color but our creative  spirit seemed up to the challenge.

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First we "auditioned" green fabrics that would become the appliquéd symbols for this Ordinary Time stole.

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Deciding to edge all of the leaves with the same gold thread helped visually connect the images and tied them into the gold cross on the stole's chest.

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Finally adding a vibrant green backing capped off this unique stole and made it ready to make a visual connection to the Word in worship. We were thinking of 1 Corinthians 3:6 when creating this piece. The scripture and the symbols are good reminders of how we are to grow. 

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow."

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Ministry Stoles: Using new techniques

It's artistically stimulating for us to experiment with new to us techniques and equipment. We recently revised mono-printing with a commercial printing plate called a gelli pate.

First we gathered our supplies. That's the gelli plate in the top left picture. Acrylic paints, stencils, stamps, things to press into the paint and brayers rounded out the gear.

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After printing the fabrics we arranged them like a collage artist would do with papers. 

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Adding details of overlapping fabrics and hand stitching was super fun.

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And we ended up with this finished product! Read more about it on "peace and healing" stole collection on our website here.

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This took us back to several years ago when we did mono printing off of a homemade gelatin block. I recently dug into that fabric stash and put together this lively table runner. It's in our Etsy shop here!

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Mono-printing is instantly gratifying. We're pleased with the results and hope to do more of this in the future!