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.

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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!

Jessyca Holland: Make a Living Doing Art

Jessyca Holland picJessyca Holland is the co-founder and Executive Director of C4 Atlanta, an arts nonprofit that helps artists with the business of being creative.

“At C4 Atlanta, we teach artists the vocabulary that empowers them to make a living doing art. For many artists, creating a business plan taps into a latent part of the brain that they haven’t explored before and it sparks creativity that they didn’t think was there. One purpose of business planning is to make you think about your life in terms of a mission. What gets you out of bed every day and what drives you?” ~Jessyca Holland C4Atlanta logo

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

Before joining the world of nonprofit arts administration, Jessyca was an independent actor performing in Greater Atlanta. Jessyca participated in the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative 2007 Leadership Program, the 2011 Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and was a 2011 Judith O’Conner Scholar, BoardSource.

She has been on arts panels for Georgia Forward, Gather Atlanta, and the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations. Jessyca earned her B.A. in Theatre in 2000 from the University of West Georgia, and Masters of Library Media in 2009 from Georgia State University.

The classes and workshops provided by C4 Atlanta bring artists of different generations and a variety of mediums together. Jessyca says, “It’s helpful to look outside of your discipline. For example, if I’m a visual artist and I’m looking at a performing artist and seeing what works for them, I might be able to synthesize that to my own work. On a higher level, we have artists of different disciplines collaborate on projects after participating in a class together. It’s amazing to see this community of artists coming together.”

Find out more about Jessyca and about C4 Atlanta at www.c4atlanta.org. In addition to classes available to artists in the Atlanta area, there are on-line archives of past TechsmARTs workshops.

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!

Beverly Molander: Activating the Power of Yes in the New Year

Beverly MolanderBeverly Molander is an intuitive artist. Her abstract compositions form almost automatically on the canvas. Each person coming in contact with her work seems to find something different to interpret and understand.

“I start with the intention to be a conduit and trust the process. With my automatic writing, I’ll know when it is finished — the pen just stops. When my painting is finished, my paintbrush stops and I don’t want to do it anymore. It’s a creative process with an intuitive knowing. I don’t know where it’s going or when it’s ending, but I know it’s good. My confidence as an artist grew when I realized my art didn’t have to do with my ego — thinking ‘what if they don’t like it.’ It had to do with ‘this is my expression and here we are.’” ~Beverly MolanderBMolander 2

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

Her suggestion to others who might want to try this type of writing and painting are, “Relax into the process, see what happens and be grateful for the experience. Let it be a source of experimentation.”

Beverly’s radio shBMolander 1ow, Affirmative Prayer – Activating the Power of YES, can be heard on Unity Online Radio Mondays at 1 p.m. Eastern. www.unity.fm/program/affirmativeprayer 

With the new year beginning, Beverly said, “Every time we come to some kind of the next horizon, the way we look at work changes. Give yourself permission to take that next step wherever you are so you can include your personal and professional lives together.” BMolander Book

Find out more about Beverly, her intuitive art and her work on her website or her Facebook page. Purchase a copy of her book, Day by Day. It is a 4”x5”, 24-page magazine-style compilation of heartfelt thoughts and ideas evolving out of Beverly’s everyday experiences.  Joined together with Beverly’s intuitive abstract art, the writings bring a sense of clarity to the choices we can make every minute of every day.

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!

Melanie Rilling: Living with Intentionality

Melanie Rilling picJewelry artist Melanie Rilling was born and reared in Mississippi, where the very land seems to be steeped in the eccentricities and literature of the Faulkner and Welty tradition. Love of the written word was ingrained from an early age.

In her early thirties, when she came to Atlanta, she discovered a passion and gift for public speaking and began being the spokesperson for several organizations. The freedom found in these new surroundings led to more artistic creativity. Camera 360

“When I discovered working with natural stones in my jewelry-making, I found a connection with nature I had never imagined. The very act of holding these stones in my hands enabled me to see the possibilities of enhancing their natural beauty with other stones, crystals and metals. I found myself ‘listening’ to their beauty and power. It became a form of worship, taking something so perfect and working with its beauty to create something more.  Actually, I feel that if one lives with intentionality, everything takes on an element of worship.” ~Melanie Rilling

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

Camera 360While she will always be a storyteller and writer, finding the more tactile art of jewelry-making has enriched her life and her appreciation of the beauty this world holds.

Like Melanie’s Facebook page, MelRox, to find out more about her jewelry made from natural stones.

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!

Betty Humphrey Fowler: Your Physical Environment Can Be Supportive or Toxic

BFowler photoBetty Humphrey Fowler is a Feng Shui Consultant and Certified Interior Re-Designer.  She has been helping people transform their lives by improving the energy flow of their homes and work spaces for almost 12 years.  Betty is trained in Essential Feng Shui by internationally recognized Feng Shui expert, Terah Kathryn Collins, at the Western School of Feng Shui.

BFowler entrace Before

BEFORE

Betty’s passion began in 1999, while living in Northern California, when she read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about how people could reduce clutter and stress in their lives.  The topic was Feng Shui.

 “We live in a physical environment. If our physical environment is toxic to us, changes we are trying to make physically and mentally are not being supported. My goal is to help people see that if they create an environment they love being around, it will support whatever changes they want to make in their lives.”  ~ Betty Humphrey Fowler

BFowler entrace AFTER

AFTER

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

Through her own life situations and those of her clients, Betty has repeatedly proven that, when you change your home environment, you will experience a renewed vitality and energy that creates positive change in your life.

As a tip to welcoming chi into your home, Betty says, “The front door is the mouth of chi where life energy comes into your home. A few times a week, come in through that door and see what a guest sees. Clear away debris, have a beautiful welcome mat, make sure your front door doesn’t squeak and that the doorbell is working. You want it to be welcoming to bring opportunity in.”

Check out Betty’s blog to learn more about feng shui. http://feelgoodinyourspace.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!

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!

Asha Lightbearer: Open to Imagination

Asha Lightbearer picAsha Lightbearer has been writing and performing music since the age of six. The question she is asked most often is, “From what tribe are you?” The answer is, “None, officially,” although she does participate in activities with Thunderbird Nation, a mixed group of Native American and non-native people who believe in ceremony and the sacredness of the ancestors, the earth and the Great Spirit.

 “The creative process is about being open to possibility and imagination. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Throw the colors on the wall, throw the music on the wall, throw the words on the wall — then see how it comes out. If you’re worrying about playing it safe and worried about doing it right, you’ll never get to your most creative genius.”  ~Asha Lightbearer

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

Asha considers herself Contemporary Christian, but includes mixed esoteric practices in her Spirituality — seeing all as congruent, valuable and life-giving. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Jazz Studies.

She says regarding the evolution of her music, “I used to only write to get the pain out of my body — that was the one way that I could express. Artists have this fascination with the macabre and believe pain ignites their creative spark. One day I thought ‘Wait a minute — that’s messed up. Wouldn’t I be even that much more of an artist if I could be creative and write a happy song? I can’t believe that I can only be creative when I’m in the dark depths.’ From that point, I started writing positive music. I will touch the wounded spot, but then I show a different way of looking at it. It has served me to step out of those dark spots.”

Asha has performed in New Hampshire, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Ohio and Florida and is rapidly expanding her reach through both live and recorded performances. A single from her debut album, Move Ahead, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Uniting category at the 8th Annual Empower Posi-Music Awards. Asha album cover

In addition to performing, she is a certified Alchemical Hypnotist and believes strongly in working with others, teaching them tools to make their lives more peaceful, happy and fulfilling and helping them to remember the beauty of who they really are. Check her website for classes and workshops including a 12-week teleclass series called “Let’s Flow! Expanding Possibility: 10 Tools for Abundant Living.”

Asha says, “I can create anything I want and so I’m building the life I love. It’s going to look like whatever I want it to look like. That’s my Divine purpose as long as it serves others.”

She has one son and is committed to family life and teaching him the values of honesty, integrity and fun! Asha believes that now is the time that we are called to lay down our differences — across religious boundaries — and “Love one another.” Find out more about Asha at www.ashalightbearer.com and check out her debut album, Move Ahead.

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!

Jennifer Bull: Music Pushes Me

Jennifer Bull is a violinist, teacher and author. She was born in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia. Raised by parents who believed in encouraging their children to follow their dreams, Jennifer received a bachelor of violin performance from Furman University and also worked as a sous chef in a French restaurant.

“Music is the gift from God that pushes me the most. You can’t be perfect on the violin —that’s probably why God gave me this gift. There are so many sounds and so many things that can go wrong. Through the violin, I’m learning to have faith and let things go that are out of my power.” ~Jennifer Bull

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

Publishing under the name J.W. Bull, Jennifer is the author of Pickin’ Tomatoes and the fiction winner of The Shirley You Jest! Book Awards / Shirley LOL.

She says, “In writing, I’m at my best when I just wing it. If I write an outline, it’s horrible. If I stay in the moment as I write, I get into the scene that I see in my head.”

Jennifer lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two sons. When she’s not teaching violin, playing in The Georgia Symphony, or cooking she is working on her next book, Musical Chairs. Find out more about Jennifer and her writing at www.PickinTomatoes.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!

Virginia DuPre: Keeping Open to the Unknown

Virginia DuPre is an artist, art therapist and a former ordained minister.

She graduated from Candler School of Theology in 1994. While serving as an ordained minister, Virginia was a client of art therapy as a way of tending to her own needs and issues so that she could better help others. In 2000, she completed a Master Degree in Art Therapy from Vermont College at Norwich University and began helping people to heal, grow and expand spiritually through the use of art making.

“Making art has kept me open to the unknown — being willing to continue to grow and expand. Art holds mystery and that’s a big part of the spiritual experience. As long as I’m alive, I want to keep expanding into that. There’s something about the blank page and listening to the materials, not knowing what will come out of that process, that’s a way of practicing being open to the great mystery moving inside.” ~Virginia DuPre

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

Virginia works with adult individuals, couples and groups for art therapy and spiritual formation.  She says, “What I love about art therapy is that an image comes out of the person and is the source for healing and growth. The art, in a very concrete way, points people back to their own knowing.”

She makes personal art with found objects and recycled objects. Currently Virginia is making snake bone pendant necklaces — made from bones of snakes that were killed in farm management practices on a farm in South Georgia.

Virginia encourages others to connect to their creativity. She says, “Set aside time to play and listen to what wants to come up.”

Find out more about Virginia and her art therapy practice at www.virginiadupre.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!