Margery Kellar: Being Aware of Messages I Receive

Margery Kellar picStained glass artist Margery (Cunningham) Kellar grew up in Indiana and graduated from Ball State University with a BS in Art Education. After moving to Atlanta, she worked for the state of GA in Fulton County’s Adult Protective Services. Margery retired in 2011 and now has more time to create stained glass art.

 “I’m open to the fact that there is a God and that all I have to do is be aware of the messages that I’m receiving. I feel like I have a special Angel that gives me ideas. Sometimes ideas come in dreams or when I first wake up in the morning. At other times, they come throughout the day—when I’m driving or when I’m looking through a catalog. Ideas come all the time—I just have to act on them. And when I don’t, my Angel gives me another nudge.” ~Margery Kellar MKellar 4MKellar 1

Listen to Margery’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

She first took classes in stained glass art at the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody, GA. She is now an assistant at Spruill, helping instructor, Anne Rambo, teach new students.

Margery exhibits at craft fairs, is commissioned to create custom pieces, and is available to repair a client’s treasured stained glass art.

MKellar Celtic3She says, “Everything about stained glass attracts me. Lately, I’ve been creating Celtic knots—they twist and turn and are so beautiful when the sun shines through. Intricate Celtic knots were originally created out of stone or metal and were placed at the entrances of buildings to keep the devil occupied. The idea was that he was too busy trying to find the beginning and end of the strand that creates the knot to come inside. I enjoy taking Celtic knot designs from the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries and reproducing them in stained glass.”

MKellar Celtic2Margery is widowed and has three children. Visit www.atlantaglassart.com to find out more about Margery’s work.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Sunmoon Pie: Everything Can Be Sacred

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar.

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar.

Sunmoon Pie is an Atlanta-based Jewish music group, writing and performing a blend of spiritual and sometimes quirky songs that explore the human condition through the lens of Jewish & Kabbalistic themes—with a focus on meditative Kirtan-style Hebrew chanting inspired by the Jewish liturgy. The artists of Sunmoon Pie say, “We take Jewish prayers and add melodies—hopefully adding a new spirit to these prayers that have been said by Jews around the world for centuries.”

“Everything can be sacred. Our name, Sunmoon Pie, represents our quirkiness and combines the sacred and the mundane together. You don’t have to change your sense of humor to be spiritual.” ~Sunmoon Pie Sunmoon Pie logo

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar. Michael and Bonnie’s interview airs on Empower Radio at 9am Eastern on April 17, 2013. You can also download the archived show after it airs.

Bonnie is an employment attorney with the law firm of Ogletree Deakins, and sings with the female a cappella group Octave.  Bonnie and Michael regularly lead alternative services at Ahavath Achim synagogue, which feature Sunmoon Pie’s original music and recently, prayers set to the music of famous artists such as the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and U2.

Bonnie says, “Music is a way to express spirituality within Judaism and also to build bridges to other forms of spirituality. It expands the concept of the oneness of God.”

Michael is a cofounder of the children’s music education company The Learning Groove and a music producer.  He is also a former winner of the prestigious Eddie’s Attic Open Mic Shootout and has won many songwriting & music production awards.

A singer-songwriter for many years, Michael says, “I always wrote about spiritual themes, but only since I met Bonnie have I been writing expressly Jewish songs while borrowing from other traditions, like creating Kirtan-style chants. It’s really cool to write the songs, then to sing them as a prayer in a meditative environment that serves others.”

Find out more about Bonnie, Michael and their music at www.sunmoonpie.com. Watch of a video of Sunmoon Pie performing an original Hebrew kirtan melody to Shiru L’Adonai.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your comments below or on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Michael Belk: God’s Project

Michael Belk picDuring the past 30 years, Michael Belk’s photography has appeared in fashion publications including Vogue, Elle, GQ and Vanity Fair for clients that included Nautica, J.Crew and others.

Combining his gift for photography with a natural sense for sales and marketing savvy, Michael created a boutique fashion-advertising agency, Michael Belk & Company. He says his work has primarily been about doing something he loved while traveling the world, working with many great models and crews in the industry. Michael later owned a fine art photography gallery in Florida. MBelk 2246

In 2008, Michael began a project to produce a collection of fine art photographs that would depict messages of Jesus and show His relevance in our modern world. Published in late 2009, Journeys with the Messiah, consists of 45 images and the “parable-like” messages they depict.

“I felt a desire and prompting to create this series of photographs depicting the messages of Christ. In the end, it isn’t about the images—it’s about my relationship with God. He is the Creator. When I get carried away about the project from a business standpoint or from a creative standpoint, I stand back and take a breath. Then say to myself, ‘Not my project, His project. He’s just letting me work on it.’” ~Michael Belk

Listen to Michael’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

MBelk 2263He says, “I sensed that religion has given Jesus Christ a bad rap. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. He came to testify to the unusual truth of his Father and how that frees us up to live these incredible lives while we’re here on earth. I wanted to show that Jesus’ message is relevant today—for people to realize that they can embrace Jesus for who he is rather than fear him.”

The images have been interpreted beyond the limited-edition, signed & numbered fine art original to include a coffee table book, behind the scenes DVD, posters and more. Michael travels to churches and other venues to present the images in an exciting audio/visual presentation. An exhibit and more images are planned.

With nearly 100 people on the team assembled to create the images for Journey with the Messiah, Michael believes in the power of collaboration. He says, “I learned in the fashion industry that Michael Belk taking a picture does not make the picture. It’s the collaborative effort of good hair and makeup people. Good costuming people. Good lighting people. Great assistance. Great producers. All of those things come together. God tells me what the idea is, but I’m always looking for ideas from people working with me as we’re putting the details of an image together. A collaborative effort is the most fun by far.” MBelk 2273

Visit www.thejourneysproject.com to view the gallery of fine art photographs created for Journeys with the Messiah. Watch the four-minute video that beautifully shares the story of creating these photos as they were shot in the Italian city of Matera.

See more of Michael’s work, including his fashion photography, at www.michaelbelk.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Suzanne Halvorson: Weaving is My True North

Suzanne Halvorson picSuzanne Halvorson is a textile studio artist and partner in By Hand Gallery (IN). In 2012, she was a Visiting Lecturer at Indiana University School of Fine Arts, and at Earlham College (IN) and will be teaching at Purdue University for the 2013 fall semester. She has taught weaving workshops at Penland School of Craft (NC), Ghost Ranch (NM), Grunewald Guild (WA), and at HGA’s Convergence (CA) and for countless weaver’s guilds and conferences. Her work is published in Handwoven, Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot, and Weaving for Worship.

 “My art is my spiritual evolution. Weaving is my true north and without it I don’t know who I would be — I consider it my calling. It keeps me seeing the world as a hopeful place. I look for beauty and inspiration every day.” ~Suzanne Halvorson HALVORSON_2_warp_weft_face_bamboo_2007_display

Listen to Suzanne’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

She goes on to say, “Weaving is what I call active meditation. Every step of the process is slow and intentional — it is very calming. There are times when I’m weaving, when I am really in the zone and completely connected to the work, that everything else disappears.” SHalvorson IndigoBamboo

Find out more about Suzanne at www.suzannehalvorson.com. Her work is represented by: By Hand Gallery, Bloomington, IN; Marigold Arts, Santa Fe NM; Penland Gallery, Penland, NC; Columbus Visitor’s Center, Columbus, IN; and Spear’s Gallery, Nashville, IN.

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Pastor Lyle McKee, from St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Bloomington, IN, is modeling the chausble.

Her liturgical line is entirely by commission. Suzanne says, “I’m learning to say ‘No’ to commissions that may not be in harmony with where I want to go with my work. I choose the ones that I accept based on if I can do something new — something that inspires me. It’s not just the same old thing.”

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Lenten tent created to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their sanctuary at Peach Lutheran Church in Danville, CA.

Suzanne will be teaching summer workshops “Weaving Explorations” (July 8 – 13) at Ghost Ranch and “Dyeing to Weave” (July 22 – 27) at Grunewald Guild. These workshops are for weavers of all levels.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Molly Elkind: God Lured Me with Art

Molly Elkind

Molly Elkind is an artist who works with fibers. She says, “I love the tactility of it – the texture of those materials in my hands. I love the repetitive process of stitching, weaving or papermaking. I also love making larger works from lots of many small pieces.”

“I was away from church for 20 years. I feel like God lured me back to a life of faith through art.” ~Molly Elkind

Listen to Molly’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Molly earned an MA in Studio Art, with a concentration in Fibers, from the University of Louisville in 2002.  Molly’s mixed media embroideries, handmade paper sculptures, wall hangings and collages, and artist’s books have been exhibited in juried shows locally and nationally, as well as being included in private collections.

In addition, Molly holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and taught this subject for many years.  She says, “Circling everybody’s mistakes and wielding a red pen as an English teacher was beginning to feel like a soul killing activity. I wanted work that could allow me to say yes instead of no. Yes to the possibilities. Yes to creativity. Yes to making mistakes and picking up and going on. Yes to that uncertain process of creating. Making art allowed me to do that. What I realized in the process of making art was that this was bigger than me. There was something else going on here besides my own brain and my own abilities. There is a creative force that is moving through me and that allowed me to come back to a life of faith.”

One of the Woven Community banners created with the liturgical art team of Molly’s church.

In this interview, Molly talks about her personal creative process and describes collaboratively creating as part of Alpharetta Presbyterian Church’s liturgical art team.

Her awards and honors include:

2009  (Sept-Oct) One-person show, Brown Art Gallery, Mercer University.

2002  Kentucky Foundation for Women. $1,000 Artist Enrichment Grant.

2000  Norman Kohlhepp Prize, Water Tower Annual, Louisville Visual Arts Association.

Molly has taught art workshops and professional development sessions in schools, museums, community art centers, and in private classes since 1999. Find out more about Molly’s work at www.MollyElkind.com. She happily accepts commissioned projects.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your comments below or on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!