Cory Cuthbertson: I’m Curious and I Cherish Life

CCuthbertson pic Cory Cuthbertson is a self-employed crafter, selling bookshelf necklaces and tea themed handmade jewellery to fund her PhD. She is a Canadian expat living in the UK with her English husband. She has a BA in linguistics, an MSc in palaeoanthropology and palaeolithic archaeology.

Since I love both books and tea, I was immediately intrigued when I stumbled across Cory’s Facebook page. She agreed to talk a little more about her art.

Tell me more about the medium you work in and how you create your art.

I love the tactile part of working with clay.  I used to work in an office, and a creative element in my life was missing. So I went and got £20 worth of polymer clay, sat down with some Youtube tutorials, and started learning how to work it.

I love miniatures — so once I learned the basics I used my skills to find my own niche.  I love tea and books, and it naturally went that way! I started making bookshelf necklaces which turned out to be surprisingly popular — but not that surprising I guess, because who wouldn’t want a tiny library hanging around your neck?

At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?CCuthbertson 0146

When I was young I was always painting or sketching or molding plasticine characters, and creating was a big part of my identity.  I don’t think there was a turning point because art was always there with me. If anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my automatic response was ‘artist’, although I had no idea what that entailed.

CCuthbertson526586630_qsubHow would you describe your spirituality?

I am an atheist, and don’t believe in a god or higher creator. I believe that when we die, that’s it. That makes me cherish life — we create our own meaning in life, and I find meaning in being happy and making others around me happy. I’m also a scientist, and working towards my PhD in archaeology. I think this reflects my personality a lot, I’m very curious and I love learning about humans as a species.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

While I wouldn’t describe myself as spiritual, I do appreciate the human body and mind.  I understand human cognition as being extended and distributed — our mind is as much of our body as our hands are, or our paintbrush is, and the things we work with and communicate with, such as art, are expressions of our cognition. That makes art very personal. It also means my creations have a little bit of me in it, and they are bought by other people and it becomes a part of them — I really enjoy that connection.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?CCuthbertson 425530364_8he2

There is nothing supernatural going on that I am aware of when I am working, but I find I become very at peace when I am focusing all of my concentration on my tiny pieces, and relaxing or turning off other parts of my brain.  Art is very meditative for me, and I perceive time passing differently when I am in ‘the zone’. I really enjoy this feeling it gives me, and I think it allows me to center myself and work through any anxiety or pressures of life.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

The art I create is always joyful.  I try to illicit happiness in the things I make. One way I do this is by making things small and delicate — that makes people smile, because they are cute and look complicated to make. I also create things that give me happiness in life.  I mentioned tea and books — I love these things but they are also things that others love too, and that motivates me to use these themes.  I also love archaeology, but that’s a bit more niche, so I don’t make as many archaeological themed objects.

CCuthbertson 331731289If you were going to teach your creative process to someone else, what would be one or two of the key things you would share?

Be unique as a celebration of yourself. Find your uniqueness by experimenting, and experiment by creating things that make you happy. And don’t be frustrated. People are way too hard on themselves and their creations, but they should be proud of anything they made because it comes from themselves, and that in itself is unique. You get better over time, and if you enjoy it, keep it up!  If you don’t, do something else that makes you happy.

How can our readers find our more about you and your work?

I have an Etsy shop where I sell my bookshelf necklaces and book and tea themed jewellery: www.coryographies.etsy.com. I also keep a blog where I talk about my jewellery, but also about being self-employed and other thoughts and musings: www.coryographies.blogspot.com. I have a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/coryographies and Twitter: @Coryographies as well!

Thanks Cory!
 With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!

Adrienne Lynch: Alchemy and the Act of Creation

Adrienne Lynch picAdrienne Lynch was born on the cusp of dawn in the wake of Niagara Falls, New York’s infamous Blizzard of ’77. Things she recalls from her nomadic childhood include: cicada carcasses clinging to the tree outside the kitchen window, too-small home grown watermelons too-sweet as candy, a neighbor girl’s torn toenail, the strange feelings grown-ups gave her, and how much her terrier mutt, Harvey, loved chasing cars and rolling in dead fish.

As an adult, she found her way to clay. For over a decade, she has made mostly figurative ceramic and mixed-media sculpture and drawings, with an emphasis on impermanence, transformation, and the ineffable mysteries that take place within the human body-boat. The figure—human and animal—continues to play a vital role in her practice, as do language, and humble materials such as paper, rusted metal, and string.

thing temple (love needs objects)

thing temple (love needs objects)

 “Clay is a great medium for me spiritually because it models the alchemy that happens through the act of creation. I take things that are difficult—like death, loss, heartbreak or loneliness—and make art around them. The process of giving form to these intense feelings and experiences lightens them and provides a release. My art has helped me let go of heavy energy and be less afraid of the dark things.” ~Adrienne Lynch

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

She comments, “Art is an act of communication. My creative process feels like an act of channeling. Art moves through me and I manifest something, but the cycle isn’t complete—I haven’t fulfilled my mission—until I’ve shared my art and gotten feedback. I look forward to sharing my work because it completes the cycle.”

Lynch.CandyDotBraille

CandyDotBraille

Adrienne considers teaching a privilege and a calling. She teaches Ceramics and Three-Dimensional Design at Georgia State University and Roswell Art Center West. She loves how the studio classroom can become a space for taking big risks, asking juicy questions, turning each other’s thinking inside-out, sharing research and insights, and witnessing breakthroughs.  Adrienne encourages each student to “honor what is unique about you and what you were meant to bring into this world.”

detail of Matchmaker

detail of Matchmaker

 

In addition to her art in clay, Adrienne is a freelance writer and recently began a blog project entitled A Daring Adventure Or Dot-Dot-Dot. Her writing examines the questions, challenges, and realities of following one’s dream.

She is also endlessly fond of the colors yellow and grey, and of the word, “Yes.” Find out more about Adrienne and her sculpture work at www.alynchyes.wix.com/adriennelynchart. Join the dialog around pursuing the life of your dreams at www.adaringadventureordotdotdot.weebly.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!

Jim Duggan: I’m Closest to God When I’m Carving

Jim Duggan pic smJim Duggan has been carving ice in the Atlanta area for twenty years. He started his sculpting career after graduating from the Culinary Art program at the Art Institute of Atlanta in 1991, the first graduating class of the school. Jim worked with chefs who allowed him to study the field of ice sculpture. He soon left the kitchen to work full time in the art of ice sculpture.

 “I feel closest to God when I have a chainsaw in my hands and I’m cutting. It’s a spiritual thing for me and I meditate as I carve. I’ve been carving for so long now, I’m not thinking as much as I work. I tune everything out and reflect—I can really work through a lot of problems when I’m carving.” ~Jim Duggan

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

Eight years ago, Jim founded ICE Sculpture, INC. He has provided sculptures to events hosting President Carter, President Bush, Snoop Dogg, The Thrashers, Tuskegee Airmen, Madonna, NHL All Star Game, and more. Jim’s favorite event each year is carving ice for Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR.  He has also designed and created ice for two movies. Star Light Star Bright

Jim says, “Ice carving is a temporary medium and ice has a life of its own. There’s the production—the creative process where you create the sculpture. But once you set it out, the ice tempers and frosts up, then it starts to melt. As an ice carver, I’m creating something that I know is going to change. It should look best an hour after it begins to melt. I want guests to get the ‘wow factor’ as they walk in. As the sculpture melts, it starts to disappear. It’s turning back into water and the circle will begin all over again.”

Jim is a founding member of the Atlanta Ice Marvels. The team has twice placed in the Top 5 at the Ice Carving World Championships in Alaska. They are competing in the 2013 competition beginning February 26th.

He says, “My competitors are my teammates for the Alaska competition. It’s a tight-knit group. If one of us is having a problem, we help each other out. The ice sculpting industry in Atlanta used to be really cutthroat, but after we started going to Alaska, we saw that we need each other. No company can do everything. You might sell a job and need other companies to help you—people you can count on.”

AIM 5th placeFor the last ten years, Jim has taught the art of ice sculpture part-time in conjunction with the culinary arts program at Chattahoochee Technical College. When he has free time, Jim likes to carve woodcarvings for friends and family.

Find out more about Jim and his ice sculpture art at ICE Sculpture, INC. Like his page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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!

Beth Tarkington: Get Out of the Way

Beth TarkingtonBeth J. Tarkington grew up and resides in the Atlanta area.  She earned degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University with emphasis on drawing & painting and surface design.

After spending 16 years as a high school art teacher, she turned her focus to become a full-time ceramic artist. Today, she applies her painterly techniques on handbuilt clay forms to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

We Each Wear It A Little Differently

We Each Wear It A Little Differently

“I have a friend who says ‘Just get out of the way and it will happen.’ So, that’s what I’ve tried to do with my art.” ~Beth Tarkington

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

In her artist statement, Beth says, “There is a Greek word, Kairos, which loosely means: to be in the place you were meant to be, or where time and destiny meet. Within this search for place, I found a natural progression from painting and surface design into clay. My artwork has evolved as narrative handbuilt, one-of-a-kind pieces; conceived, designed and crafted entirely by me.”

Beth participates in juried and invitational shows and exhibitions around the country. Her ceramic pieces are known for their layers of color, rich textured surfaces and thoughtful narratives. Compositions often center on female figures framed by landscape, symbolic elements and occasional text.

We Have Grown This Way Together, Inseparable from Place

We Have Grown This Way Together, Inseparable from Place

She says, “The evolution of my spirituality has profoundly affected my art. My spirituality is a deep centering thing for me. I create art that talks about people and places in life — basically my own experiences because everything is autobiographical. People ask me, ‘Is that you on that piece?’ and I say, ‘Sure, who else would it be?’ I try to touch people from that place inside.”

You can find out more about her at www.BethTarkington.com. She is represented in the Atlanta area by The Signature Shop and Gallery.

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!

Rev. Michael Radford Sullivan: Art Takes Me Deeper

Michael Sullivan pic2Rev. Michael Radford Sullivan is the rector of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, an author and a sculptor.

“My art and creativity have become the chief means of my personal spiritual journey. The pivotal moments in my life where something went wrong — when I needed something to take me deeper in my spiritual journey — are where art really served me. It has helped me deal with the difficulties life can bring.” ~Rev. Michael Radford Sullivan

Listen to Michael’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.Michael Sullivan book2

Michael is the author of Windows into the Soul and Windows into the Light. The books explore the place of art in spirituality and how creativity can contribute to the richness of the Christian journey. He has been a featured writer for Episcopal Café and Explorefaith.com.

He often leads retreats on art and spirituality. He says, “When we are able to give ourselves over to something greater, we begin to participate in a kind of spiritually-led process where our eyes are opened. We might see things that we would not have otherwise seen. I would argue that creativity is something greater than we are.”

Michael Sullivan book1Michael is a summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wofford College (B.A. 1989). Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he accepted a James B. Duke Fellowship at Duke University, but after pursuing that program for a year, entered law school at the University of South Carolina where he earned his law degree (J.D. 1995, cum laude, Order of the Coif, Law Review). He practiced appellate law in Columbia.

During his practice, he discerned a call to priesthood and then completed studies at the University of the South, Sewanee in 2000 (M.Div. optime merens). Michael was curate at Church of the Advent, Spartanburg before being named Canon for Mission at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia. He then served as rector of St. John’s, Lynchburg, Virginia before coming to Holy Innocents’.

Michael says, “Part of my life as a priest is helping people to see that boundaries are not great for the creative process. They’re not great for our spiritual development. You’ve got to be open enough that the emptiness of your life can be filled with something greater. You have to let boundaries morph and change so that God and Spirit can transform you in the process.”Holy Innocents Church logo

In his spare time, he enjoys reading Southern fiction, cooking, exercise, and sculpting. Connect with Michael through www.holyinnocents.org or on Facebook.

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!

Matt Moulthrop: What’s New and What’s Next

Matt Moulthrop picFollowing in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Matt Moulthrop turned his first bowl at the age of 7. Completing his BA at the University of Georgia and MBA at Georgia Tech, Matt tried his hand at work in the 9-to-5 world, but ultimately eased into turning wood as a career, making him the third generation of Moulthrops to carry on the craft.

“My spirituality is affected by what I see in nature. I work with wood that is unnatural or uncommon. Trees that have been diseased, are decayed, or may have been hit by lightning. I never cease to be amazed by what’s new or what’s next. It’s humbling to see the power of nature and what God has created.” ~Matt MoulthropMMouthrop 1

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

Matt says that as a young adult, he learned that the artistry of wood turning comes not from the hand, but from the eye. Being able to “see” the shape of the bowl has been a legacy and a gift he has tried to improve upon with his vision and version of style, form, and texture.

MMoulthrop 2The artistry of woodturning begins with the wood. Matt says, “I read the log to see what is interesting in the pattern. The work is a revelation process — the challenge is to manipulate the material to best reveal what has been created in nature. I’m constantly looking for new colors or new patterns — anything that’s unusual.”

His works has been displayed in galleries and museums around the country, including the Smithsonian Institution, Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.; The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA; and The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.

MMoulthrop pivy 1

Coffee table made from poison ivy vines.

MMoulthrop pivy 2Matt talks about one of his most unusual pieces, a table made from poison ivy vines. He says, “Poison ivy is kind of a vilified wood in a sense, but it is spectacularly beautiful. This table was one-of-a-kind. In my research to create it, I couldn’t find anyone who had done anything with poison ivy before. It was a tremendous challenge. There was a danger factor to both skin and lungs, but I had somebody help me who is not allergic and we took a lot of precautions.”

MMoulthrop PBS

As a child, Matt posed inside one of his grandfather’s woodturned bowls to show the scale of the art.

Find out more about Matt and his work at www.moulthropstudios.com. Watch a fascinating 15 minute segment on the PBS program, Craft in America, about Matt, his dad Philip and grandfather Ed — three generations of woodturners.

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!

Mal McEwen: Everything Has Significance

Mal McEwen picMal McEwen is a north Georgia chainsaw artist with family roots in the area dating back to 1746. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and creating works of beauty, including being a mechanic, machinist and trim carpenter.

Mal picked up a chainsaw for the first time in 2002 and has never looked back. What started as a hobby has transformed into a livelihood, with commissioned projects coming from as far away as California. Known as the MalHatter (for the colorful top hat he wears while performing), Mal has carved from Florida to Pennsylvania to Washington State and many points in between.Malhatter owl

 “Through my spirituality and my art, I notice and get inspired by small things. It inspires me to watch ants do their job. From the little things to the big things, everything has significance. My best advice is don’t take the big things as being huge and don’t take the small things as being small. Everything has a purpose and meaning.”  ~Mal McEwen

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

Always willing to give back to his community, Mal demonstrates at multiple local libraries each summer with the hope of inspiring children to follow their dreams. He has been commissioned for carvings at a number of public and private schools and is always a big hit with the kids.

Mal says, “I’m inspired by nature and by kids. There’s nothing greater than working with a child or young person and watching something spark in their head. I tell them, ‘You don’t have to be an artist. You can be Malhatter swan benchwhatever you want to be in life — don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Try to be the very best that you can be.’”

In this world of mass production, Mal takes great pride in the fact that each piece is 100% American-made, individually carved, and is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

In May of 2009 Mal organized the first major carving competition in the Southeastern US. The Inaugural “Buzz in the Blue Ridge Chainsaw Carving Extravaganza” was a huge success — nine carvers showcased their talent and raised awareness of this up-and-coming art form.  With the success of the “Buzz”, Mal has gone on to promote other carving events in the Southeast.Malhatter in action

He says, “I’ve got the only job in the world that combines the speed and sound of motocross with the skill and accuracy of a brain surgeon. I’ve had no formal training at all, but I’ve worked with a bunch of talented chainsaw artists over the years. I learn from them and they learn from me.”

MalHatter mooseFind out more about Mal and his MalHatter appearances at www.malworks.com. Like his Facebook page, Georgia Chainsaw Artist, to see photos of his most recent art.

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!

Martin Dawe: Meditation is My Most Powerful Creative Tool

Martin C. Dawe is a sculptor who works primarily as a commissioned artist in a variety of mediums. Martin has become well known for his figurative and representational work, which ranges from loose, impressionist work to traditional sculptures with a late 19th century style. From the World Athletes Monument in Midtown Atlanta to his contemporary site installations, Marty has developed a very personal style of collaboration from his work with private, public and corporate clients. Marty was awarded the Honors Award for Arts by the American Institute of Architects, AIA Georgia, artist of the year in 2001.

 “Meditation for me is very close to my spirituality. When I am quieting all the gibberish, I’m breathing deeply and letting solutions come to me. Using meditation is the most powerful creative tool that I have.” ~Marty Dawe

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

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Marty moved to the United States when he was a child and grew up in New Jersey. He studied at Boston University School of Fine Arts and received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Georgia State University. He apprenticed for 8 years under Julian Harris.

Landing Gear

Marty began his own custom sculpture studio in 1987 and incorporated as CherryLion Studios, now the largest custom sculpture studio in Georgia, in 1994. He leads a team of talented apprentices at his 6,000 square foot studio near downtown Atlanta. Here Marty blends state-of-the-art technology with a disciplined, classical approach. He is known for his ability to collaborate, stay within budget and meet deadlines. The studio has executed hundreds of commissions including 25 large-scale public art installations. CherryLion Studios has developed mold-making and casting processes, as well as formed relationships with many area foundries.

Marty comments that he practices stillness meditation to connect with his creative flow, then the act of sculpting becomes a moving mediation. He says, “I would imagine for a lot of artists when they are making art, they are meditating and channeling. As you lose some of the ego and judgments, you’re making pieces that are better than what you could do by yourself.”

Elliott’s Circle

He considers his work problem solving. Marty says, “I like interaction and I like being presented with a situation that needs a solution. I have a collaborative personality and have been very interested in problems that were a lot bigger than me. Working with a group, we can create something bigger than an individual would.”

Selected commissions include:

Elliot’s Circle, The Galloway School, Atlanta GA 2010: An outdoor classroom with Elliott Galloway and a student in bronze sitting in a circle of GFRC logs on the ends of which are engraved all alumni since the founding of the school in 1969. Watch a timelapse video of Marty and his team as they create Elliott’s Circle.

Landing Gear, Terminus, Atlanta, GA, 2009: 12’ tall cast stainless steel abstract figure for courtyard.

Nourish

Nourish, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta, GA – 2005: Three sets of tables and chairs covered with pigmented translucent reliefs imbedded with donor recognition plates.

Equilibrium, Fulton County Juvenile Court Facility, Atlanta, GA – 2002: 158 colorful reliefs in the lobby of the new Juvenile Court building were commissioned as a part of the Fulton County Arts Council’s Art in Public Places. Martin held a summer workshop with children from the Juvenile Court to develop imagery for the reliefs. On the west wall, the reliefs are arranged in an abstract pattern and on the east wall, the same reliefs come together to form two 22’ dancing figures of children.

Equilibrium

Find out more about Marty and CherryLion Studios at www.cherrylion.com. Marty was featured in an Atlanta Business Chronicle article about the importance of public art. He is quoted in that article saying, “Successful public art can reinforce a sense of place; articulate complex concepts; present the ideals of a community; memorialize significant events and people; heal wounds; entertain; inform; and challenge the way we see our world, our city and ourselves. It makes the city a more desirable and meaningful place to live and provides a positive means of public engagement.”

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