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!
Advertisements

Sean Beeson: Relax and Have Fun with Your Creative Process

Sean Beeson picSean Beeson is a world-renowned composer, pianist, educator, and owner of the award-winning Sean Beeson Studios LLC. His piano works have been heard over 20 million times by people around the globe, and are published by Serenity Studio. Sean’s sweeping orchestral scores can be heard in over one hundred video games, films, and trailers.

How do you create your compositions?

I create music by using computers to realize elements of music, ultimately compiling them into pieces. From sole piano melodies to complex orchestral colors, technology is at the core of what I do.

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

As far back as I remember, I have thought of myself as an artist. Or more perhaps like an inventor or explorer. I love to experiment, and when I received my first synthesizer/keyboard I got really into music technology and creating sounds. I haven’t stopped since.

How would you describe your spirituality?

I am Roman Catholic. I believe in Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and follow the Tradition of The Church that has been passed down for two millennium.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

My art is a celebration of the gifts God has given me. I always strive to express my gratitude in my music, but also bring my music to the faith through various projects I work on. SBeeson Christmas Dreams

Although not directly through my art but through my craft, I try to be a model Christian by making moral, ethical, and positive decisions.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

For me, I think it worked the other way around. Having grown up in the Church, music was always a big part of my praising! It was my love of that “art” that really strengthened my art.

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

I don’t know if I connect with a divine flow, so to speak. I would love to think that God is influencing my music, but I can’t really say. I do pray for intervention in my work and career though, asking for God to open my heart and mind to how he wishes to form my career and music.

I try to offer up everything I do to God. Without his graciousness, I could not be doing what I am doing today.

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

There are times, when working with others, that my art really becomes more of a science/math. It is still art of course, but what I am asked to collaborate on dictates that I become more of a supporting creative contributor as opposed to being a director.

How do ideas come to you?

That is a good question! I still don’t always understand how or where my ideas come from. I think a lot of them come from REALLY far back in my mind and are influenced heavily by my earliest exposures to music. The rest stems from my training as a composer. I rarely have to grasp for inspiration, but I tend to approach some of my compositions as if they are mathematical equations that need to be “resolved” versus creative dreams that are stuck in my brain and need to be exhumed.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I tend to trust my gut instincts. It doesn’t always result in the most original music, nor the most advanced work, but it does allow me to focus on creating art for clients, meeting their deadlines and keeping my business afloat.

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

Relax and have fun. The creative process (at least mine) can at some times be stressful and frustrating. Don’t let that weigh you down, and instead focus on the positive. Relax and have fun with what you do. You can pour yourself into it, you can get heavily invested into, you put sweat, blood, and tears into your work… But have fun and relax.

How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

In my personal experiences they have worked together. It is hard to explain to someone that isn’t me (as I am sure it would be for a lot of artists with a similar mindset!) how art leads to a greater understanding and appreciation of God, and how focusing more of my craft and time on God has given me a better understanding of my role in music with my spirituality.

Find out more about Sean and his music at seanbeeson.com or go to Serenity Studio’s Youtube channel.

 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. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship.

Mark Golding: Psychoactive Art and Healing Mandalas

Mark GoldingMandala artist Mark Golding, was born in London in 1955. Described as Psychoactive Art and Healing Mandalas, his work will engage the viewer on a powerful subliminal level, activate dormant powers, create tendencies of inner peace, and initiate profound growth. He says, “Life is a flow, a journey of multi-sensory experiences, that I have chosen to record, using the visual medium.”

In addition to being an artist, Mark has been a hospital chaplain, a poet, an author, a meditation teacher, a dealer in antiques, an art historian and a collector of old gemstones.

How you create your art?

What Dreams May Come - They Manifest

What Dreams May Come – They Manifest

My process is one of experiential empathetic engagement, with both the emotions and the sense awareness. I feel, and I draw — to initiate release, understanding and healing, within the mind of my client. This is following a two-hour consultation.

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

I was cautious about using the word artist for a year or so, but around two years ago I came out… aged 56. My name is Mark Golding, and I am an artist!

How would you describe your spirituality?

I am an unconventional and maverick Tantrika. I follow the Buddhist path of je Tsongkhapa, the Lineage of the Kadampas — those that practice Lamrim, Lojong and Mahamudra.

The Alala Bird - Radiates Love, Wisdom and Compassion

The Alala Bird – Radiates Love, Wisdom and Compassion

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

I create mandalas, each representative of an aspect of the path of Dharma — Buddha’s teachings. I sit with an intention prior to commencing any work, and maintain this throughout my creative process. Spirituality is the very expression of my art.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

As my pen runs along the paper, I feel the Divine creativity, witnessed in the trace I leave upon time’s visage. Each drawing I create brings me closer to God.

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

I connect through working with pure intention. And my intention has three aspects — Love, Wisdom and Compassion. The flow of Divinity…

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

There is no contradiction. My process is served by my higher intention, when I work alone, or in the collective. Many co-creative projects have initiated alchemical sparks!

How do ideas come to you?

Solstice Sunrise Blessing

Solstice Sunrise Blessing

As instantaneous sparks. Elusive, transient and fleeting. I try to note them down, but often they flee before I have caught them… I carry a note book at all times.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

Much of my work is by commission, and my ideas are integrated into each current mandala, though I contemplate series and processes whereby my own understanding and healing are also served.

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

My most valuable tool is a still mind. I have practiced and taught meditation for 20 years, and can hold my mind in a still and peaceful heart centered space. My advice? Learn to meditate.

How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

This is a beautiful question! The two are inseparable, and as I journey through life, following the spiritual path, both my art and experiences are evolving, interdependent and harmonious. I am both a servant and a witness to my process.

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

I have a website: Mark Golding – http://markgolding.co.uk/home
Facebook: Healing Magic – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-Magic/213593625344837

 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. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship.

Deborah Hightower: Music Can Soften the Heart

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 all of our radio interviews on Empower Radio.

Deborah Hightower_3512Artist Deborah Hightower is an author, singer and songwriter.

Deborah celebrated four Top 10 hits on inspirational radio and three award nominations from her album, Her Name is Deborah. The LOVE. album was released in October 2012, followed by Beautiful Christmas in November. She has performed in a variety of venues including radio and television, mega-churches, conferences, corporate events, Carnegie Hall, and the White House.

In addition, Deborah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, minor in Communication; Master’s Degree in Organization and Management; and is completing a PhD in Leadership. She holds several professional designations in the financial arena. Find out more at www.DeborahHightower.com.

Can you tell me more about how you create your art?

Inspirational writing — whether music or narrative comes from an idea…an unction…a thought that appears my mind, heart, and soul. It could be inspired from a Bible teaching or scripture, a circumstance experienced, or situation witnessed. The funny thing about inspiration is one never knows when it will strike. I have written lyrics while driving down the road as well as during meditation time.

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

On the one hand, I have always considered myself an artist in terms of music as it has been a natural fit since a young child. On the other hand, writing came with life and professional experience — narratively and lyrically speaking.

How would you describe your spirituality?

For me, spirituality is the constantly transforming internal experience based on my belief and faith in God that guides life’s decisions. Awareness of and tuning in to the spiritual provides a hopeful and optimistic outlook for the present and future. Even through a trial or painful happening, joy can be found in God. The result of the trial or pain can be beautiful and transformed into meaningful lyrics or narratives.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

My narrative and lyrical writings promote hope, peace, love and understanding. Whether writing for business purposes or expressing my thoughts in song, the foundation for the message is spiritual. It has been said that my latest songs (from the album, LOVE. and from my previous album Her Name is Deborah) can be directed to human or divine. My business writings (i.e., from the best-selling book The Secret to Winning Big) have fundamental principles that can be found in the Bible even though God or scriptures is never mentioned. I strive to write narratives and lyrics to creating moments of ponder — leaving the interpretation to the reader or listener so they can apply it to their particular beliefs and thoughts.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

My first experience with music can from church so the connection with God in that sense has been there as far back as I can remember. Now, the things that I seek in life — fulfillment, peace, joy, happiness, love — are exponentially expanded through worship, meditation and prayer. Music sets the stage for these things. Often times, music helps clear the mind — giving clarity to the issues at hand. I believe music can soften the heart, communicate an emotion, and create motivation to move forward. DHightower Love album

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

I believe we were created to be creative. I believe each one of us has a divine purpose for being created. For me, the creative process is seldom intentional, per se. While there are is a process to get the idea or inspiration from the heart and head to paper, the idea-generating portion is usually unplanned. Going about daily activities can generate an idea. My ‘notebooks of inspiration’ contain business writing, ideas, scriptures that fit the need or situation, lyrical lines and other thoughts that will, at some point, likely be committed to publishing. Laughingly I say that I ponder on these things all the time, even in my sleep. In all seriousness, I have awoken to find completed lyrical lines on my mind. Coincidence? Hardly. I attribute it to dreams through which the Spirit finds rest and manifestation.

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

I believe to work well with others requires a like-mind and like-spirit. There must be a common message goal before the idea-generation process starts. Particularly, I believe music to be a powerful mode of communication and for the message to be clear requires all the wheels to be headed in the same direction.

How do ideas come to you?

Inspiration can come from a number of sources. For example, perhaps a devotion, scripture or meditation moment; perhaps a story of someone’s circumstance; perhaps an injustice in the world — all these things and more can generate a thought. The thought can be fleeing or it can create a moment to connect an idea that could eventually turn into a work of art.

I find it interesting that inspiration can have a lot to do with timing. Let me explain. What moves me today may not have moved me yesterday or created a reaction that could turn into a lyric or narrative. We are exposed to so many ‘noises’ over the course of the day…sometimes we tune it all out…then sometimes amidst the noise, we hear one thing that sticks. The ability to allow inspiration to flow is an important component for artistry — regardless of the mode.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

My notebooks are full of one-, two-liners, or three-liners. Some develop in short order and some stay put for a year or two before developing into a complete work. Often, I laugh and say that I know two lines of thousands of song…perhaps that’s a sign of how I think…in snippets. Sometimes, snippets unfold into complete works and sometimes not. Timing has a lot to do with an idea — perhaps an issue at hand or a special need for a word of encouragement.

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

I think the basis for the creative process begins with a heart search.  What message do you want to communicate? What story would you like to share? Once the foundation has been laid, then the building process can begin. Dig deep — past the surface. For example, if the lyrics or narrative is from a place of hurt or disappointment, let the listener or reader feel your pain.  If the work is from a happy place, let the smile shine through. This is where the timing plays a big role. If you are having an upbeat and hopeful day, it may be hard to dig out the pain that you want to write about. By the same token, if you are having a cloudy day, it may be hard to write about sunshine. I think the Spirit plays a big role in the process. Let the Spirit be your guide.

How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

For me, spiritual evolution has affected my art. Connection with the Spirit and the maturing process of that relationship has played a role in my lyrics and message.

Find out more and connect with Deborah:

Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Maria Howell: As a Sensitive Artist, You Want to Know About Life

PowerfulActress, Singer and Voiceover artist, Maria Howell is best known as the choir soloist from the movie “The Color Purple.”

“Art and spirituality are like singing and acting for me. Art is an expression of the spiritual side of me so as I grow with one, it helps the other. It’s a volleying back and forth like my singing and acting have been. I want both. As I learn more and I grow, I want to know more. As a sensitive artist, you want to know about life—you want to know what it means.” ~Maria Howell

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

MHowell as Grace

Maria stars as Grace in NBC’s “Revolution.”

As an actress, she has appeared in Lifetime’s hit shows, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva, the CW’s Vampire Diaries, FOX’s Past Life, ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet the Browns, and House of Payne, as well as the acclaimed theatrical release The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock.  She has worked alongside, Mario Van Peebles and Wendy Raquel Robinson in BET’s hit series The Game, Queen Latifah’s Single Ladies and USA’s hit show Necessary Roughness, starring Calli Thorne.  She played Jules’ doctor (Cameron Diaz), in What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and in the role of “Mrs. Easle” in the ABC Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie Firelight, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

revolution_nbc_smShe now joins the regular cast of the hit TV series Revolution on NBC.  Her theatrical releases in 2013 include, Addicted, starring Sharon Leal and Boris Kodjoe and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as “Seeder.”  She also joins the cast of Devious Maids, as attorney “Ida Hayes.”

Maria says, “The one seamless thing in my life has been singing and acting. Through singing, I give of myself and open up by telling stories. I’m touching people literally and figuratively. With acting, I feel I can inspire people by letting them see this African-American face doing something they might have imagined doing themselves. Any time I sing or act from the right mindset—from the right heart—I hope someone will be inspired. It’s a beautiful thing to be aware of God and know that in your art, you are connected.”

Throughout her career, Maria has shared the musical stage with legendary artists like Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Ray Charles and Earl Klugh. After a very successful stint in Asia, Maria relocated back to the US and performed weekly at Sambuca Jazz Café for nine consecutive years…2002 to its closing in December 2010. She and pianist Bill Wilson (son of legendary jazz pianist Teddy Wilson), held the distinction of being the longest running act at the Atlanta location. Maria has released several CD recordings, with the most recent release titled Reflections, a retrosMaria Howell singing 2pective collection.

She encourages other artists by saying, “I define passion as something that won’t let you go. Think about what your passion is and go for it. Even if you don’t have a fully developed plan, just start with something. Start with this step and go forward. Things somehow come to you if you put it out there. So many things have come into my life that didn’t come in the package I imagined. Connect the emotion with the experience and just live it.”

Learn more about Maria and her work at www.mariahowell.com. Links to her Facebook and Twitter pages are on her website.

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!

Walter (T.W.) Lawrence: Everybody Has a Story

TW Lawrence photoAuthor Walter Lawrence grew up in Texas, where his father practiced veterinary medicine and his mother taught nursing. He and his sister were raised in a family that valued the origin and meaning of words.

He majored in English in college and later earned a Masters of Arts in Professional Writing. Walter has published numerous freelance magazine and newspaper articles, and both his poetry and short stories have won numerous awards.

“Everybody has a story. One of the reasons I talk to strangers is to find out what cool story they have to tell me. When I’m writing, my mind pulls up those stories and I’m able to use them. People cross your path for a reason and you don’t always know what it is at the start.” ~Walter (T.W.) Lawrence TW Lawrence Dusty and the Cowboy

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

Walter’s latest artistic venture has been to write and record stories specifically as audio downloads on Audible and iTunes.

He says, “Upon reflection, I was divinely led to create this series of short stories called Dusty and the Cowboy. The door was opened and I had sense enough to step through. After hearing an audio recording of Dusty, the first story in the series, I realized the unnamed cowboy was me. The cowboy was looking for direction, asked for divine help and began his journey. It’s interesting to see the doors that have opened. I’m following the path to see where it takes me.”

He recently made his first Nashville recording to be used as the theme song to the audio of Dusty and the Cowboy. Walter writes under the pen name T.W. Lawrence.

TW Lawrence Take Me To TexasWalter’s advice for other writers, “Be yourself—you have to find your voice. To do that, you have to listen and trust the voice inside of you. You have let go of this world and open yourself up to the world of creativity and the world of divinity.”

Visit www.projectdusty.com for a free download of the short story Dusty. On Amazon and Audible, find printed and audio books by Walter (aka T.W. Lawrence) with titles Take Me To Texas, T.W. Lawrence’s Cowboy Collection and Dusty and the Cowboy. Audio books are also available on iTunes. TW Lawrence Cowboy Collection

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!

Sharron Ragan: Become Inspired by the Process of Painting

SRagan picSharron Ragan is an entrepreneur, artist, business leader and visionary who literally throws herself into her work emotionally, physically and spiritually. She is an awarding winning artist and has commissioned work at several corporate offices including Coca-Cola, and private collections.

As an abstract expressionist Sharron paints intuitively using vibrant acrylic colors and contemporary techniques. She also leads inspirational creative development programs for businesses, organizations, and individuals on how to tap into their inner creative expression and passions with painting. As a new-thought creative leader, Sharron has been recognized for blending ancient wisdom and creativity programs with contemporary business.

Emerging

Emerging

“I paint in an intuitive, expressive style and teach workshops on how to use this style to develop your creativity. It doesn’t matter WHAT you paint. Painting opens up a creative part of yourself that you might not have known you have. Become inspired by the process of painting—the color, the vibrancy of the color, and the movement of the paintbrush on the paper.” ~Sharron Ragan

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

She began her studies in art in college and transitioned into a corporate career in advertising and marketing. After 25-years as a corporate marketing executive with several Fortune 500 companies including Wendy’s and Coca-Cola she returned to expanding her fine art skills as a professional artist and entrepreneur.

Sharron says, “With every painting, I start with a moment of silence. I ask that I am connected to whatever I’m going to create and that it is created for the highest good. I set an intention that anyone who sees it will be inspired and helped in some way.”

Her business Blue Frog Creative Network focuses on Branding, Marketing and Creative Expression providing programs for Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, and Artists.

Sharron has been featured in national media, radio, TV and magazines as a leader in creativity and intuitive mastery. She has inspired thousands of professionals to seek personal fulfillment and business purpose by awakening their creativity and following their intuition. She says, “It is my personal journey to help people recognize they are creative. Once your mind opens to your creativity, the universe brings you more ideas and more information.”

A Paint Journey Weekend

A Paint Journey Weekend

She volunteers her time to various non-profit organizations and also leads art retreats.  As a speaker on creativity she has been featured at corporations, national conventions and universities nationwide.  She lives in the Atlanta area.

Visit www.thepaintjourney.com to find out more about upcoming expressive painting workshops. Find out more about Sharron and links to her on social media at www.SharronRagan.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!

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. Listen to the Sunmoon Pie Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

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 art and your comments 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!