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

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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!

Harry Boone: First Center Yourself

Harry Boone is a pottery artist. A native of Georgia, Harry grew up in the Atlanta area, attended Georgia Tech and served in the Navy. He worked in the building and development industry for 38 years.

Watching a potter work at his wheel while attending a North GA fall festival around 1968 sparked Harry’s fascination with wheel pottery. He started collecting pots that day. In 1985, he took a class and centered his first piece of clay.

“Early in my journey as an artist, I was working full-time in the development and building industry. I came into pottery class ten minutes late and strung tight. I wasn’t able to center the clay on the wheel — a crucial step before you can begin forming a pottery piece. My instructor came up behind me, put her hands on my shoulders and said, ‘Harry, you can’t center the clay until you’re centered within yourself.’ I’ve found that principle of first getting centered relates to everything I do.”

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

Now, Harry spends several days a week either in class or working independently in the studio. He’s particularly interested in firing stoneware pieces in wood, salt and ruku kilns.

He says, “I think the best piece I’ve ever made came out of the kiln a few weeks ago — it’s a little teapot and it is absolutely beautiful. That doesn’t happen every time. Creating with clay is somewhat of a process and it’s filled with a lot of faith.”

Harry can be reached at haboone (@) bellsouth.net.

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!

Laura Strickler: Choosing at the Buffet of Spirituality

About 10 years ago, Laura Strickler bought a few beads and a little bit of bead wire, hoping to replicate a key chain she admired at a craft fair. She quickly learned that you only need to know how to do a couple of things — crimping and wire wrapping, to be exact — to make just about anything you want with beads. The very short learning curve, the dazzling assortment of beads out there in the world and the utilitarian nature of the final product kept her going.

Finding an intersection where beading and spirituality meet has been the most gratifying part of Laura’s hobby.

“I think of spirituality as a buffet. When you’re at the buffet, you get to pick and choose. You might like something about one spiritual tradition, and something else about another one. I believe that we all have the creative prerogative to connect with our Higher Power in a way that personally works for us.” ~Laura Strickler

Listen to Laura’s Art as Worship interview on Empower.

She says, “The most exciting thing for me about this art of beading was discovering the spiritual aspect that I could bring to it. The word ‘bead’ comes from the Old English noun ‘bede,’ which means a prayer. Just a bead itself is a prayer. It’s just the perfect tangible anchor for any spiritual practice.”

There is a prayer bead configuration for almost every religion and spiritual tradition. Laura’s signature prayer beads include traditional Catholic rosaries and chaplets, Hindu and Buddhist Malas, Christian prayer beads, and a variety of non-denominational prayer and meditation beads.

Laura goes on to say, “Prayer beads are a wonderful way to pause. To be reminded to stop, take a breath and to get centered.”

Laura lives in Atlanta and indulges her creative passions as an antidote to her “real” job in corporate communications at The Coca-Cola Company. Laura has owned her own business, Design & Copy, Inc., for 16 years, providing writing, editing and marketing communications services to a broad range of clients. You can contact her by email at lstrickler (@) mac.com.

Since this interview originally aired, Laura left her job at Coca-Cola and started Pink Elephant Merchantile offering a line of elegant, versatile necklaces.

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!

Sybil MacBeth: I Get Still By Moving

Sybil MacBeth is a dancer, a doodler, and a former community college mathematics professor. When she moved to Memphis in 2004, author Phyllis Tickle nudged Sybil to write about her prayer frustrations and the visual and active prayer practice she developed as the result of them. She now combines her experience in the mathematics classroom with her lifelong love of prayer to offer workshops that engage differing learning styles. As the author of Praying in Color Drawing a New Path to God, she has lead over 100 workshops and retreats. 

“I use this prayer involving art as a form of meditation to get still. I write the word ‘God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ on a piece of paper. I start drawing and it invites my body into the prayer. I like to move and I’ve discovered that I get still by moving … even if it’s just moving my hand along the paper. It helps me get still on the inside because the body is no longer a distraction.” ~Sybil MacBeth

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

Sybil is also the author of Praying in Color Kids’ Edition. Her latest book is a Praying in Black and White: A Hands-On Practice for Men, a collaborative effort with her Episcopal priest husband, Andy MacBeth. Praying in Color has been translated into Korean, Spanish, and Italian.

She encourages others to embrace their creativity by saying, “Sometimes your boundaries are your freedom. Use the boundary as a starting off point. Choose to only draw circles. Or restrict your doodle to circles and lines and see what happens. That way you don’t have this whole big paper staring at you — those restrictions can allow you to be free.”

Sybil uses the arts as a pathway for building community and deepening her relationship with God. She is a life-long dancer. Sybil studied ballet and modern dance and performed with various regional dance groups. She currently dances with an improv dance group.

She commented, “Sometimes you become an expert by being a chronic novice — always willing to learn and willing to continue to grow.”

Sybil’s experience includes:

  • Artist-in-Residence Memphis Theological Seminary 2010-2011.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach from 1991 to 2004.
  • Graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.S. in Mathematics and College of William and Mary with an. M.S. in Mathematics.

She lives in Memphis, TN with her husband, Andy, an Episcopal priest.  Sybil is the mother of two adult sons.

Find out more about Sybil, her books and workshops at www.prayingincolor.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!

Alice Ball: Learning from the Beautiful and the Not-So-Beautiful

Alice Ball is an explorer in the art of papermaking — gathering raw materials, sometimes embedding things in the wet paper before it dries and creating small collages.

“One of the commandments of papermaking is ‘thou shalt not love any piece of paper better than another.’ You learn from the beautiful pieces and from the not-so-beautiful ones. That’s not unlike worship for me. Some days worship is really hard. Some days it is a joyous and easy — a totally carefree thing. But it’s always there. It’s not something that has to be one way or another.” ~Alice Ball

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

Paper items are called ephemera — a word related to things like ghosts, mists and spirits that can’t be held onto for long. They remind you that beauty can be fleeting and you must be alert to be moved by it, or simply to enjoy its existence, however short.

Alice says, “My spiritual evolution and my art of papermaking are interactive. When you’re very occupied with doing things with your hands, somehow your Spirit is allowed to fully flower. Making paper has given me an experience of myself as creative. I sometime laugh and enjoy the ridiculousness of what I’m trying to do. It has challenged me to try things that seem rather silly and sometimes turn out surprisingly great. The doing of it has affected my way of being acquainted with myself.”

Alice often gives her art to friends.

You can connect with Alice via email at aliceball (at) gmail.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!

Matt Tommey: Crafting a Creative Life

Matt Tommey is a basketry artist, a musician, author and worship leader. His interest in fine craft and handmade baskets began as a teenager, growing up in southern Georgia. His passion for using natural materials began to center around the creeping southern vine of kudzu while attending Young Harris College in the North Georgia mountains and the University of Georgia.

“A few years ago, my wife and I made a decision to say ‘NO’ to everything that was not creative at its core. That meant turning down jobs and moving from Atlanta to Asheville. It meant crafting a life that sustains what we are called to do, as opposed to running after the frustrations of the day. I’ve crafted my life in a way that makes it easy to be creative — that meant saying ‘no’ to stuff that sucks my time.” ~Matt Tommey

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

Now an Asheville, North Carolina resident, Matt’s handcrafted baskets are a whimsical collaboration of traditional Appalachian forms and wild, rustic, natural materials including natural vines (kudzu, wisteria, grapevine), branches (birch, oak, ash & poplar), long leaf pine needles and poplar bark. His interpretation of rib baskets and other traditional shapes offer a heartfelt nod to his roots in Appalachian basketry while offering a contemporary expression that is all his own.

Matt says, “Coming from a family of musicians and being a musician, I grew up with this idea of performing for God. As I’ve grown in my spirituality and relationship with God, the Lord began to draw me back into the woods. With my basketry, my relationship with God began to change from a position of performance to just being. Connecting with the solitude of the woods helped me to find a place of rest with my creativity. It’s in this place that I know that I’m loved and accepted beyond anything I would ever create. I know that I’m created in the image of God and my job is not to perform for Him, but to create with Him.”

Matt is a leader in the contemporary basketry movement, serving on the Board of Directors of the National Basketry Organization and as an instructor at schools, guilds and conventions around the country.

Through The Worship Studio and his book, Unlocking the Heart of the Artist, Matt encourages others to embrace their creativity. He says, “You are creative. The things that make you weird and unique are the very things that God put inside of you to express His glory on the earth — and for you to have a really good time in life. The abundant life comes when we connect to creativity and the greater spirit of God with our unique expression of creativity.”

Find out more about Matt at www.matttommey.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!