The glory of glue guns, glitter, and gesso



Making stand-up animals in Watertown

This is Janet. She is helping children make art, last Saturday at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. She has a gift for this, and she clearly loves it. My children have taken a large handful of classes from Janet, usually during the hottest week of August, while they enjoy the air conditioned comfort of the Arsenal Center. Janet is one of those great teachers who makes a space where children can bring their actual selves, and their great imaginations, and use it to make a holy mess. No xeroxed coloring sheets. No “I didn’t tell you to draw a butterfly,” (Another art teacher actually said this to my daughter….).

I’ve aged out of Janet’s classes (OK, I aged out decades ago….), but I still yearn for time and space for just letting color and texture and memory and feeling come together through the making of art. Even as a pastor, I find that much of what I am asked to do or required to do is pretty solidly left-brained stuff.  In intended and unintended ways, those around me can say, “I didn’t tell you to draw a butterfly,” too.

Early last week a wonderful artist-priest said something to the effect of, “I am a created being and therefore called to create.” I’m rededicating myself to doing that. And I want to make time and space for others to do so, too.  I’d love to hear from those of you who build art into your busy lives in a regular way. How, where, and when do you pick up the paint brush? or the knitting needles? or the glue gun? How does it work spiritually in and through you?



About amymccreath

I'm a pastor and mother who loves to make connections between people, between ideas, and between stuff we label "sacred" and "secular." I aspire to be like a Cedar of Lebanon in the midst of the changes and chances of life, but like most folks, generally find that I can really only navigate the tumult hand in hand with others. Good coffee helps, too.
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3 Responses to The glory of glue guns, glitter, and gesso

  1. Mary Anne White says:

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t do things with my hands. I was one of the kids who loved getting a new box of Crayolas, you know, the ones that had sharp points. Throughout my life, I have done drawings, paintings, carving, beading, knitting, stitching. It is rare that I don’t have a project. Now I am trying collage.

    The main thing I’ve learned is that the process is always more important for me than the product.
    God has blessed me in all the work I have done. I find that I get lost in the work, or in the case of knitting, I find companionship with others doing needlework along with me. What a blessing.

  2. Emily VA says:

    I tend to knit when it would be antisocial to read (car trips, sitting around the table with family, etc.) but my hands want something to do to keep me from fidgeting. It helps me be calm and present in a more sustained way then I easily manage on my own. And the textures and colors are soothing and engaging. TV watching, car time (when I’m not driving), and visiting time are all prime opportunities, along with teaching (sometimes – when I want to talk to students but keep my hands off their labs). Different companion activities sometimes call for different kinds of knitting (complicated charts don’t mix well with teaching but are fine for a road trip).

  3. Marge Burke says:

    Marge Burke

    I write poetry and am teaching myself to play the Celtic harp. Both of these artistic outlets feed me spiritually. Aside from the beautiful sounds from the harp, the vibrations from the strings fill me with a sense of peace as they rumble through my body. I feel more grounded and connected to God and all of creation. While the poetry doesn’t send vibrations through my body, I am, again, more grounded and connected. For the most part as I don’t pick the words that appear on the paper, they are inspired and given as a gift from God. Yoga is another arts related activity for me when I can come to stillness and enter into deep meditation.

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