Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: The Whispering Cloth

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.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Our Favorite Blogs

We can learn and be inspired by reading. Therefore, today I thought I'd share some of our favorite blogs that we follow that pertain to Carrot Top Studio. Maybe they will inspire you for a bulletin cover, arts group within your church or feed your own artistic soul.

  • Susie Lubell is an illustrator. We like her whimsical style and dedication to her faith.
  • West of Here takes and shares the most stunning photographs and has the ability to hone in on what is most interesting. 
  • Julie Lonneman has an amazing way of sharing what she believes in her graphic art.
  • "Love God, Serve Others, Make it Beautiful!" is the motto of Valorie Sjodin who moves me with her detailed drawings (and her motto!)
Christian Art Associations chalk full of resources-
Stitching inspiration-
  • artists Karin Birch and  Claire Wellesley-Smith both stimulate my desire to add hand stitching to our stoles. Stay tuned to see if we progress in this direction!

Fabric inspiration-
  • A Stitch in Dye because she's got great style. 
  • Anna Maria Horner juggles a business, a family and also writes about her family's faith heritage. She also demonstrates how to mix patterned fabrics together. I appreciate all of that.
  • Artfabrik for fabric dying advice and igniting a desire to do so. 
  • Erin Wilson Quilts proves that you can make images simplified with fabric...something we have to think about when sewing on 5" widths.
And these help remind me of what is real-
  • Out of the Dust & Us reminds me of the world that is outside of my studio in Michigan. The added bonus is seeing the batik fabric of the clothes in their community. 
  • Cast Your Net uses art to help illustrate his sermons and his messages from the pulpit usually have a way of getting me to think twice.
  • For my home and kitchen I read the Radical Homemaker. I appreciate the way she is raising her family.
And then after a day in the studio I often unwind with a recipe inspired by Food 52. The creating goes on and on and on!

**p.s. The Feedly app makes following these blogs very easy. Maybe you'd like to add Carrot Top Studio to your feed? Wink. Wink.