What would you do if money were no object and you could not fail?”
The first time I heard this question was during a private session with Dr. Art Lindsley, exploring the topic of “calling” near the end of my Fellows Year One Program in 2007. I did not expect this question. Although I took it very seriously, I responded immediately, “I would make pictures in fabric.” Perhaps Dr. Lindsley did not expect my answer, either, because he promptly replied, “What would you do with that?”
That exchange set in motion a journey I never imagined but that has its origins in childhood affinities and has been nurtured by my walk with the Lord and the companionship of my C.S. Lewis Fellows. What, indeed, would I do with that?
In 2007 I had never heard of “art quilts,” but that is what I have been making since then, my “pictures in fabric.” As a slow learner, I took classes to develop the skills to turn ideas into reality, to make wall hangings that might bring beauty or inspiration to the beholder. The fact is, I sense that something in me was made to create, though I have never pursued formal art training and have not quite embraced the identity of “artist.” If this is a God-breathed aspect of my being, then surely He has His hand in it, and the journey is as much about hearing Him as it is about making quilts.
Yet I will describe frankly my ongoing dialogue with Him.
I still ask, “Lord, is it really a valid spiritual exercise for me to spend my time engaged in an amateur handicraft?” He answers me with deep communion as I meditate on the Scriptures that have inspired a piece I am working on, as I pray over the message my quilt might convey, or as I worship Him for the creation that has fired my imagination. He also sends encouragement to me through His saints, past and present. At the Fellows Retreat in 2010, Dr. Chris Mitchell introduced me to the writing of Dorothy Sayers, who wrote what could be my own manifesto:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things. That is the thundering assertion with which we start; that the great fundamental quality that makes God, and us with him, what we are is creative activity . . . “In the beginning God created”; from everlasting to everlasting. He is God the Father and Maker. And, by implication, man is most god-like and most himself when he is occupied in creation. And by this statement we assert further that the will and power to make is an absolute value, the ultimate good-in-itself, self-justified and self-explanatory.1
Next page »