Artist of the Month: Favorites!

Ok. So maybe this isn’t a post of my favorite previous artists of the month so much as as recap.

Artist of the Month

I just thought y’all needed to remember some of the wonderful people we’ve welcomed here at the Long Live Beauty cottage over the past 8-10 months! Remember when I first announced we’d be starting this monthly feature?

  1. Erin Elisabeth Aubrey.  10672222_616158333230_550600183772033997_nRemember her? Sweet-singin’, guitar-strummin’ Tennessee girl? She shared with us her story of creating and making music, both as a music therapist and as a human, how creating is integral to living life whether society deems it “worth something” or not. (By the way, Erin creates beautiful music herself, which you can find here and here.)
  2. Bailey Roberts. january-8-5Her photography. Wow! And her heart for beauty found in the story, one reason why she loves wedding photography. Her story of God working through her in spite of obstacles like OCD and social anxiety is so encouraging! And her skill is excellent.
  3. Heather Knudtsen. untitled (14 of 14) Her brilliance. Her heart. Her articulate words that light the dark places that art tries to go so often. Those are rough waters to navigate for Christ-following creatives. My favorite quote (well, one of them), from her post is, “We must live in the tension of the world we hope for and the world that is.”
  4. Andrew Peterson. theburningedge Yeah, there was that one time I took it upon myself to write a post about an artist whose work I love and admire. (Admittedly, I never asked Mr. Peterson if he’d like to write the post himself… maybe I should do that sometime?)
  5. Aimee Brown. 1551609_10202193226584670_1552926476_n “The Art of Motherhood” remains one of my favorite posts ever of all time. This woman knows the art of loving people into thriving children of God (not just her own kids). I love her spirit of dwelling in palpable gratitude for right now, for treasuring every moment with her children in their current season.
  6. Brooke Reed. IMG_3910 When she writes, my soul cries, “Amen!” Especially when she shared about the struggle to bottle beauty and take ownership forever out of a fear of losing it, which of course means you miss out on just savoring and enjoying it at all. “Beauty begs enjoyment, not ownership,” she succinctly illumines for us. And she connects this to stories, and their power to “crack open the universe.” (AH. So good, right?!)
  7. Humiltea Design by Kara Clinewindblown KaraA multi-talented as a gifted photographer, potter, writer, painter, hand-letterer, and musician with a marked spiritual gift of hospitality, with bold humility, she reminds us that the voice telling us we’re alone, that we’re deficient as creatives and artists, that we have nothing of value to give compared to others- that voice is a liar. It’s so good to remember that we make the Holy Spirit heartsick, as she says, when we reject our gifts and view them as “filthy rags.” Re-reading her post recently reminded me that my gifts are from God, and their value comes from him.

If you missed any of these posts, I encourage you to go back and read them! This is one of my greatest purposes in continuing this blog: cultivating community among believers who are creatives. I don’t just do these posts for fun. I include them because they are crucial for all of us.

Be encouraged and empowered by their stories; invest in whatever gifts God has given you. Any gift! Whether you are a business-person, an IT guy, a mom,  a painter, a cashier at a grocery store, a preacher, a mentor, a friend, a butcher, baker, or candle-stick maker. You have capacity to bring the kingdom of God into right now, where you are.

That is the greatest beauty of all.

Artist of the Month: Humilitea House {Everyday Arts by Kara Cline}

For February’s Artist of the Month, we are featuring Kara Cline of Humilitea House!!! This post has been a long time coming, and I’m so excited that Kara is sharing her heart with you today! I met Kara when I was a freshman in college and have counted her one of my dearest friends ever since. Almost immediately after meeting her, I experienced her decided spiritual gift of hospitality; even in our crumbly dorm rooms, hers always felt like someplace homey and peaceful, where there was always a cup of hot tea in your hand practically right after you set foot in the door.

Kara is multi-talented as a gifted photographer, potter, writer, painter, hand-letterer, and musician (and probably something else she hasn’t bothered to mention to me), with a deep and abiding love of Jesus and every person she meets (with whom she is immediately friends).

I can’t say enough about Kara’s generous and perceptive heart, nor her overflowing creativity, nor her gorgeous flowing locks of golden hair. (I mean, seriously people, no one has hair like hers…) So, I’ll just stop saying things and let her take over. I’m sure there’s enough hot tea or coffee- or both- here for you and enough good words for your soul, too. Enjoy.

windblown Kara

Hello fellow artist hearts and kindred spirits. Allow me to share a cup of coffee with you for a few moments, welcome you to my kitchen table as the snowflakes swirl outside, and be vulnerable with you.  I want to share something I struggle with every day.  You see, I’ve been procrastinating. Procrastinating to write this blog post, and, really, to create in general… because I’m afraid.

green vine

If I take a long hard look, I’m really astonished at how fear has managed to snake it’s way into my heart.  Entwining it’s coils around every beautiful young plant that God has intended for good and for strength. It suffocates delicate shoots before they even press all the way through the soil, and chokes the light out of things that my Creator desires to use to help bring about wholeness and healing in this broken world.

yellow leaf

As an artist I look at the tangled mess in my spirit and a voice slithers out and says that I am alone in this. The voice mocks and claims that God cannot use anything that comes from these two hands.  The voice reasons that I am ugly through and through, and that no beauty can come from such a jumble of insecurities and half-hearted attempts at creating.

snow on red

But, dear children of the Living God, I say this to myself as much as to you. That voice is a liar.

statue

Christ has rescued me from the power of sin and death. Through His blood He has transformed me from a charred sinner into His holy and beautiful daughter. He has completely changed my life! Why, why, WHY then do I insist on viewing His gift of creativity in my life as a filthy rag?  Why am I ashamed of it, holding it at arms length and desperately searching for a place to hide it lest people discover I’m a fraud?  Why am I terrified of practice and of falling down? Why am I so prideful that I allow fear to keep me from sharing such gifts?  Why do I say they aren’t good enough?

chimney

I’m rejecting His gifts and I’m making the Holy Spirit heartsick.

Friends, even though that deceptive voice keeps telling me that I’m alone, I know that I’m not. Once you dig through the surface, so many of us artists struggle with the exact same thing, but we’re fighting a battle that has already been won on our behalf.

“… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

“ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

For so long I have let this fear and procrastination prevent the use of so many blessings. I can make excuses and put off sitting down to my pottery wheel, picking up my camera, or pressing my piano keys, and I usually do. I envision myself in an imaginary future where I am suddenly adept at all of those skills, or I look through my Instagram feed and fuel the consuming fire of comparison until I am immobilized. The real tragedy of this though, is that my days on this earth are passing more quickly each year, and I am wasting the precious time that my Father has given me.  It may sound dramatic, but it is nonetheless true.  We are eternal beings, yes, but our time in this world is not infinite.

Lucy

How can we let such gifts stagnate when this globe is crying out for hope and purpose? It is no coincidence that the favorite tools of the enemy against creatives are fear and discouragement.  The liar wants to keep us deceived.  We have been blessed with creative voices.  They are voices that are meant to be used, and used right now.  Yes, we will create countless things that are far from perfection, but our God is a God who takes broken things and makes them beautiful.

Psalm 139 14

 

So please, be encouraged from someone who is still fighting those lies.  Whether your gifts are music, sculpting, homemaking, writing, painting, conversation, or a myriad of other combinations, don’t listen to the deception anymore that you have no place in the world as an artist.  Turn your attention to the one who gave you such wonderful gifts…and pour out.

gnarledtreePour out to the One who has made you, dear friends.  Pour out healing beauty on this fractured earth, and be not afraid.

watercolor pottery

 

I’m so thankful for Kara stopping by to share these vulnerable thoughts that so often plague us as artist, and for sharing a sampling of her beautiful photography with us!!!  (Remember back in October when she did our family photos? She captured us so perfectly!) You can see more of her photography here. Coming soon is her Etsy shop of her gorgeous, rustic ceramic creations! I’ll be sure to share the link with you all as soon as it’s up.