Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: Crafting Calm

Carrot Top Studio dabble's a little on Pinterest.  Do you? I entered skeptically as I felt like we already had more than enough social media connections. But then the organizer, always looking for a good idea, connector in me was quickly hooked. One thing led to another and I was introduced to the work of Maggie Oman Shannon. How unique it is to find a ministry leader that focuses on creativity! I picked up her book Crafting Calm and was tickled to see the variety of projects, the connections for journaling and reflecting, the definitions and quotes and the lovely bibliography. There's enough in this little book that after I perused it from my local library I think I'm going to purchase it as it will be good to have on hand for a while. You might enjoy it for yourself, your christian education director at your church, your vacation Bible School coordinator (break free from the purchased VBS model!), or as a gift for a crafty critter you know and love. Thanks Maggie for bringing us something a little new and different!

About the photo--My latest crafting project-a little clutch just right for my phone and a lipstick. Book gem was found on my trip here. But thanks to Crafting Calm I might next try a Biblical Garden, a Talking Stick or Bread Meditation.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Visual Connections in Worship: Using Art on Transfiguration Sunday

There are so many ways to make visual connections in worship. There are the traditional methods such as the details in architecture, vestments, textiles and floral arrangements. And then there are the more contemporary such as the use of multimedia on the big screen, eNewsletters, and worship bulletin covers. Why not combine historical art into the more contemporary and incorporate images that are strong and relevant onto the big screen in worship, on the church website, or in social media? There are many wonderful resources such as Textweek that provide an outlet for images and inspiration. For example, if you are preparing a Transfiguration message this work by a Russian artist who painted in the Neoclassical style and was as renowned for his sketches as well as his paintings might be a worthy visual.
Transfiguration by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, 1824
Questions for thinking about Transfiguration

  • What do you see?
  • What colors are used? Are they warm or cool? How do they make you feel?
  • Do you see any shapes emerge based upon how the artist positioned the main characters? Might this be intentional? What does it mean for the story?
  • Is every part of the Biblical transfiguration story told in this painting?
  • If you could rename this painting what would you call it?
  • If you were the artist how would you have painted the story of the Transfiguration?
  • How does this painting relate to you?

The possibilities are really endless once you get into the habit of using images that go beyond clipart. Here's an example of a writer infusing art into their blog post. And an example from my friend Pastor Dave who places his sermons online in a blog after they are preached. The illustrations on the blog are the images he uses on the big screen in worship.

**Note-Just please remember to give the historical artist credit even if it is art of the public domain. If you are using work that is contemporary art make sure you have permission to share.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Jenny Gallo, Carrot Top Studio, Owner/Artist: An Interview

When did your creative awakening occur?
My parents recognized my artistic gift and fostered it first with Crayola's then later with more sophisticated art supplies and lessons.  Trips to art museums were always part of my life and I still feel energized the minute I walk into a museum or gallery.  So, the creativity has always been there but as I have aged I have been more receptive to this being part of me.  I was in my 30's before I really felt like I gave myself permission to create from the depths of my soul.
What talents do you have?
Artistically I can paint, sew, quilt, and create through collage (I love handmade papers from around the world).  Teaching is another gift.  I have enjoyed guiding many from the uninhibited preschool age child to the ever wise senior citizen.  Baking is favorite pastime.  I used to spend time at the pottery wheel forming clay into vessels. Now I knead bread dough instead of clay!  This is also probably why a day doesn't feel complete unless I've done a little digging in the garden dirt.
What elements draw you toward them?
I am drawn to texture and combinations of textures.  This is probably one reason why I love collage. Color is also inspirational, mood altering and stimulating for me.  When I taught elementary art I loved exposing the children to the depth and breadth of color.  Even construction paper comes in luscious colors and chartreuse, pumpkin, magenta, salmon, spring green and slate grey were always included in my yearly order!
When and why do you create?
As a small business owner  I appreciate the flexibility to my schedule but I create best when there is a rhythm and routine to my week days. I create because I feel I am called by God to do so.
What activates your creative energy?
I love reading. Often a walk through a book store or library will find me stumbling upon a text on a period of art or design history, symbolism or a technique that will spark the creative energy to flow.   I often set out to make one thing and it transforms as the process of using the materials and the spirit of creativity take over.  When it works it is a joyful journey.
Any creative rituals?
Turning the music on pouring a cup of coffee and indulging in a bit of chocolate are almost guaranteed to get things going!