Archive for the ‘Creativity On Display’ Category

Today’s interview in our Creativity on Display series is with a musician. Music is a wonderful creative expression and it is inspiring to see how this woman has taken that seed of talent and grown it through hard work and time and dedication to the Lord.

You have musical gifts. Did you enjoy that gift growing up?
Yes… I started learning how to play the piano around age 5 and took lessons until I was about 12 or 13. Even after I stopped taking lessons I continued to play because I enjoyed making music. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I decided to learn to play guitar. I practiced more than any sane person should because I was so excited to learn a new instrument. I really loved having a new way to express myself. I enjoyed music growing up for many reasons, but one of the main ones was that music was a way for me to express emotion. I still love the way that so much feeling can go into an instrument and come out in such a way that it can move people.

What is your favorite way to express that gift?
My favorite way to express my gift is by sharing it with others and also playing music solely for myself and my own reflections. I guess the two reasons seem to be opposites so I’ll explain myself. I get great satisfaction knowing that I am using a gift that God gave me to minister to others. I also sincerely appreciate the way music ministers to my own spirit when I am alone.

How have you nurtured your ability?
I have spent countless hours practicing guitar, bass, and piano to get to where I’m at today. I can remember back to when I was first learning guitar… I must have made my family insane by how much I played. A typical day for me would look like this: school, play guitar, do homework, play guitar, eat dinner, play guitar, sleep, repeat. Other ways that I have nurtured my ability would be through playing with worship teams at CBC and the university I attended. I learned a lot from watching others who had more experience than I did.

Have you seen ways that God has used musical talent to build you up?
God has taught me a lot about leadership through my musical gift. Leading worship is a privilege that must be treated with care and respect. I am thankful that God has allowed me the opportunity to use my gift to minister to others.

Have you seen God use your music to help others?
I don’t deserve the credit for the way my music ministers to others, and I’d like to preface what I’m about to say by giving God any glory that comes from my music. I have been told of a few instances where my gift has made a difference in other people’s lives. One situation that comes to mind was when someone shared with me that they were deeply moved by a song that I played/sang. It was encouraging to know that the gift that God gave me was used to help someone else when they were going through a difficult time.
Music is a part of my life. I can’t say enough how thankful I am that God chose to give me this gift.

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Today’s interview in our Creativity on Display series is with a woman who uses dance as creative expression, her career, and a means to glorify God. 
God created in you the ability to dance.  How have you used that gift in the past and how do you currently use that gift?
I began dancing at Glenn’s School of Dance in Howell at age nine because my friends were all doing it! I ended up loving it and continued through high school in the P.A.D.T children’s company that took us around the country traveling to different cities to compete. I won over twenty scholarships that helped ease the cost of travel and competitions along the way. After high school, I earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan and danced and performed there for a year. I decided that wasn’t where I wanted to stay and I didn’t want to major in dance. I finished college at Michigan State University with a BA is Advertising. I was on the Dance Team there and performed at football and basketball games. Throughout my college years I worked professionally around the country and traveling abroad. I worked for Reebok, Nailco, Cher, Mary J. Blige, was on the tv show “Dance Fever” to name a few and was also in a Detroit dance company. I lived in NYC for a summer training under several top choreographers in the country. I substitute taught at several universities in Michigan. I have continued teaching at Glenn’s School of Dance on and off over the past twelve years. I currently teach ages 3-18 in all styles of dance and I’m choreographing a competition piece. I have done several different events at the church. I choreographed for Dancing with the Stars and the Children’s Musical.
Has it always come easily?  What have you done to improve and keep up your skills through the years?
It has been pretty easy. The Lord blessed me with flexibility, visual learning skills, rhythm, musicality and body awareness. Without all of these qualities it would’ve been real difficult to improve over the years. To keep up my skills I like to take class in NYC and at conventions around Michigan. I watch different dancing movies and shows to keep up with the education side of it and go to dance competitions. I try to push my older students and choreograph to my highest ability for them. In doing this, I have to dance it for them, watch them and learn from them! It is amazing how much I’ve grown just from watching my students manipulate the movement over the years. Each one of them has their own distinct style that may not be mine.
Has dance ever been a barrier to you in any way, either socially or spiritually?  Has dance given you opportunities you may not otherwise have had, either socially or spiritually?
Dance has been a barrier in a few different ways. One example is when I was on the dance team at MSU, it was hard to be on the dance team where you are well known on campus and most of the girls on the team liked to go out to the bars and party. At this point I knew the Lord and had to fight my past and my sinful nature to want to go out and do what they did. I was very close with all of them and we spent a lot of time together. It was very hard and I needed the Lord’s strength to say “no” many times. On the other hand it was an awesome opportunity for me to tell them about Christ and how my life had changed because of Him.
When I am teaching at Glenn’s School of Dance, I do not have any restrictions on what music I can play in class or choreograph to for the recital. In class I’m able to play Christian music and I’ve used many Christian songs for the recital where hundreds of family of the students come to watch. This is a huge opportunity to spread my faith through the music to many people in the community. They might link them together but I’m doing my best to be a servant of the Lord. I try to be a light to all my students and to the parents. I have been given this amazing talent from the Lord and I need to use it to do good for Him.
What do you most appreciate about this creative gift that God has given you?
 Wow…I didn’t realize it was a gift from God until a lot later in my life. Growing up, I relied on myself to improve and always was proud of myself with what I accomplished. I began to learn that God was and had been in control the entire time and was orchestrating it all. I became so thankful the moment it finally clicked and I’m so blessed to have this talent and to be able to share it with so many other people. I have been so many amazing places, performed in front of thousands of people and in all of it can now give God the glory for my gift.
I love most of all the performing aspect of dancing. I love to be on stage and portraying the music and emotions through the dance. Dance is an art form like no other. The human body is our instrument and we have to mold, shape and portray the music through it. I love the feeling of complete freedom and getting lost in the music. God is good and I thank Him that he loves dancing too. Psalm 149 reads, “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.” The true beauty is that in heaven I won’t need to teach anyone to dance, you all will have the gift too and we will praise Him together.

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Today’s interview in our Creativity on Display series introduces us to a woman who loves quilting and considers her hobby an artistic pursuit and a blessing from God. For anyone who ever snuggled under a warm quilt on a cold Michigan night, we know that this creative expression is appreciated for its usefulness as well as its beauty. Read more to find out what is involved with the creation of a quilt.

You enjoy creating quilts. How were your first introduced to quilting?

My high school home education teacher told me after I admired her quilts that I would never be able to quilt because it required patience that I did not possess. She had made me hand sew my zipper in my wedding dress she was helping with and I complained about it! Her statement, though, was enough of a challenge to get me started.

How many quilts have you made through the years?

I have made 8 full size quilts and too many small projects to count. Since I hand quilt them it can take me a year to make one.

Can quilting become an artistic pursuit for anyone? What kind of effort and skill does it require to do it well?

When I first started I did not realize that quilting is an artistic pursuit.
I just thought one followed the instructions and one produced a quilt. Now I see that it requires more. The choice of colors in a quilt can determine its beauty. Quilts originally were made of scraps found around the house. Nowadays we purchase fabrics with the idea of cutting them into little pieces and sewing them back together.

I love mixing different patterns, colors, and textures together, stepping back and allowing my eye to follow the colors. Within a quilt the light and dark colors can draw your eye along the pattern of the quilt. I enjoy the geometry and the symmetry of different patterns. I like that I can start a project not totally knowing how it will turn out because I may change designs as I work along. I like this flexibility. Some women like to draw pictures with their fabric and their quilts become works of art much as painting in an art museum.

Quilting requires many hours of practice. At first one may tear out as much as you put in until one gets the hang of matching seams, points, and corners. There is a sense of satisfaction the first time all one’s corners meet properly.

What does quilting mean to you personally?

Quilting forces me to slow down and observe. I observe colors and patterns in nature. I like to take my time and enjoy the project as I work. It also forces me to loosen up a bit and not be too structured and too intense. Through quilting I have learned about the Amish and Mennonite communities and their simplicity of life.

Quilting is my hobby, not something I have to do. Therefore, I have put it away for awhile and brought it back during different times of my life.

How has God allowed you to bless others with this skill and desire He has given you?

The summer before my son was married his fiancée asked me to help her make a quilt for their new home. It was such a thrill to be able to spend hours with her and we learned about each other as we grew closer.

I have been able to teach a couple of girls from church how to quilt. It is so important for young ladies to have someone in addition to mom to talk to. This has been a privilege for me.

It is fun to do a “show and tell” with friends. It is fun to encourage others in their projects.

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The Creativity on Display interview today is with a woman who has learned how art provides her with a connecting point to God and enhances her relationship with Him.  She also firmly belives we all have the ability to be creative and artistic if we give ourselves the chance.  Enjoy her insights!

You have an artistic gift. When did you first realize you had that gift?

When I was young I never recognized it myself but others would comment on my ability.  It wasn’t until I was close to a teenager that I real thought about the gift.

 How did you feel about it then and how do you feel about it now?

I didn’t understand what people saw in me.  What I remember is being different and having attention drawn to myself because of it.  It made me feel good yet uncomfortable.  If I put my work in competitions the reactions from my peers became negative while adults encouraged.  I still struggle with the past comments but God has shown me a peace that creative thoughts can bring and everyday I learn to be content and still and know that He is God not the people surrounding me.  Sometimes people are still negative or say something about art that they really didn’t mean. It is hard living in a world run by business minds.  I enjoy my gift and when it is not there I miss it greatly.  I really have enjoyed the connection with God as our creator in being creative.  God has a plan for the arts and how it points to Him is a joy to explore.  He never stops amazing me.  His creative spirit is endless and filled with joy when I seek it out.

 Through the years, how has this gift developed?

I was 10 when I joined a 4-H club that allowed my abilities to grow and learn about art.  My mother is an artist and she encouraged my education in art.  I always took art classes in school and later went to community college classes to graduate with a Commercial Art and Illustrators Degree.  I have pushed myself to draw and illustrate and to keep moving in my growth.  The computer programs have been a challenge but one I take and push through the challenges of learning a new tool.  I believe everyone has creative talents.  It may be different or not to the standard we see around us or in our mind but with time it can be developed and enjoyed.

 I have taught others about drawing and painting through Community Ed. Classes, private lessons and am currently working on a Theme for gardening with children and using my creative abilities.

I have enjoyed the way others have seen my creative abilities and expressed them to me because I myself have not seen them from that perspective.  It is like a door that is opened to explore and find the adventure that is there.  People have been a very important part of developing my gift and I enjoy sharing my gift with them. 

What is your favorite part of being artistic?

Having the connection in the creative part of Gods character.  Can you imagine waking everyday to seeing Gods creative character?   He is amazing in all the fine details He developed to express the image he made.  It shows me how important we His creation and nature are to Him.  I find comfort in knowing we are made in His image.  His image.  How wonderful is that.  Sometimes I wish I could just slow the world down so I can have time to absorb all that God has and is creating around me.  As is a sunset, how quickly the colors and shapes change.  I want it to transform in slow motion to enjoy the show.  Then I would like a repeat button.

Can you share some ways God has used this gift to bless others?

I have painted pictures of friends with their family members.  I have given gifts for friends to enjoy.  I have been able to use my gift in mission work for bible studies and other areas to enhance the message of God that is being presented by a speaker.  It has also brought smiles to an endless amount of unseen faces and hearts.

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Todays Creativity On Display interview is with a woman who uses her gift to bless others continually. And by the way, this blog has used and is currently using a sampling of her photography to decorate the top of our pages. We hope you enjoy this conversation about the gift God has granted her and perhaps it will inspire you to seek out the creative gifts God has placed within you.

You have the talent for taking great photo’s. When did you realize this was a gift you had been given?
Within the last several years when people were asking me to take pictures at events(school/sports/weddings).

How much work have you put in to getting better at this skill?

I took an online class taught by a photographer that I admire. I also took a class through the community ed.
I “study” photo blogs (there is a list of nearly 20 photo blogs that I review monthly). I’ve purchased and read photography books. I ask other photographers questions. I have practiced and tried to learn from my mistakes. And I have learned what I can trust, like brands of cameras, types of film, and where to get it processed for best results.

Now I am trying to get out of the “auto mode” of my camera, which means I have to take account for all of the elements: light, subject, etc. It’s not second nature and that means I have to practice even more! My online teacher told us, in order to learn to take better photographs, you have to be willing to take some bad ones.

What is your favorite part about photography?
The ability to capture a special moment in time.

Have you seen God use this gift in you to help others and glorify Him?
I try to use my ability to give to others a gift and bless them as much as I can.

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