Lately, I’ve been spending more time on my artwork, specifically my woodburning.  I tend to give myself a tough time when allocating more time on this artwork instead of my writing.  But after long days at the church, this type of creation feeds my soul as I feel as if I’m using another part of my brain that hasn’t yet been exhausted.

And isn’t the point of art – any form of art – to be in the process of co-creating with God?

It’s been wonderful hearing how other writers have been drawn to a variety of other types of art as well.

At Until Everyone Hears, Shannon Karafanda expresses her love of artist Dale Chihuly.  Seeing some of his work at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens nearby, I’ve been attracted to his striking blown glass pieces.  Karafanda’s post enlightened me to the challenges that Chihuly had with both the loss of his sight in one eye and the dislocation of his shoulder.  Yet Chihuly’s creative spirit did not die with the loss of his physical abilities.  Instead, others worked with him to bring his vision to life.  By working with others, he could step back and see the creation of the piece from a different perspective.

Karafanda states this:

“Sometimes we create something beautiful that makes the world a better place. But sometimes God is calling us to do something similar on a larger scale and what it takes to get there is a different perspective.

“I don’t know if God is calling you to do something small or large but I do know that whatever it is you have everything you need around you to do it. You may need to rely on other people. In fact its highly likely. It may seem messy at first, but once all the pieces are put together, it will be quite beautiful.”

Our creative process is often done in a bubble.  What we forget is that it often takes collaboration with others to bring about God’s vision for our work.

At Philosophy Over Coffee, Jeff Nelson displays some of his recent collage creations.  Knowing Nelson’s commitment to and achievement in writing, I see how his other artistic ventures – like his blackout poetry – keeps him in creation mode:

jeff nelson collage piece
Artwork by Jeffrey A. Nelson

Nelson posts this about his artistic process:

“I have a stack of magazines, pamphlets, mailings, and catalogues on my home desk that I’ll root through and see what I can do. There usually isn’t a plan beforehand, I just look at pictures or words until something strikes me and I go from there.

“These sorts of activities help keep me playful.”

Kristin Berkey-Abbott writes about her creativity bag on her blog Liberation Theology Lutheran. She speaks of the contents of the bag and what she hopes to include:

“I want a sketchbook and a collection of markers. I want my poet tarot deck of cards. I want an inspiring book that I can read in short snippets. I want a perfect pen.”

Such a tool as this creativity bag brings her much peace in her full days:

“Let me continue to look for ways to insert this spirit into my workday world.  One of those ways may be seizing time to sketch, a practice which grounds and centers me.”

In the image of God we are called to be creators.  Our writer friends design with words each day.  It’s a blessing when they can direct us to the beauty of established artists like Chihuly to inspire them in their creative lives or when they use other types of art – like drawing, creating collages, playing music, or dancing – to open themselves up the creative power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you visit art museums or go to concerts to become inspired to write?  What other types of artistic mediums do you use to fill your soul?

The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, Illinois. Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She also has chapters in the books Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy and A Child Laughs: Prayers for Justice and Hope. Torigian blogs at

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

One thought on “Friday Festival: Artistic Ventures

  1. I am watercolor pencils for my journal — I am definitely too much words, words, words … and need art for my downtime and also quilting — all hand patching.


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