makers gonna make messes (wip) | ©Anna K. Originals

Works in Progress

I’m working on a new series of art.

Y’all, I’m all excited about it.

Like the kind of excited that makes your stomach do the wobble…and maybe the nae nae, too. ūüėČ

But.

I’m scared.

I’m doing the kind of art I’ve been craving to do for a long time. The kind where I merge my love of digital media with hand-created elements to make something completely new to me and sharing it feels scary in a big way.

To let folks in close enough to witness the fruits of a creative process that’s rife with both¬†learning successes and epic failures…? Yeah, that’s hard.

Because many folks don’t see the process when they look at an artist’s work. They just know if they like it or not. They judge¬†in mere moments something that took you millions of moments to create.

Moments of failure, of learning, of growing, of risk, of play, of prayer…of pain.

I think that’s why it’s important to share the story of creative process. To share the story behind and within my art.

Even more? To invite you in so we can share our stories together.

I think that’s why I feel such a pull to share my artful experiments and “not-quite-there” works in progress. No matter how much we may appreciate the neat and the seemingly perfect, we connect through¬†imperfections and in those messy middle stages of becoming in art and in life.

Connection is the very fertile ground in which understanding, empathy, and love thrive in.

After all, dear ones, we’re all works in progress.

Blessings,
Anna K.
art is my haven | Anna K. Originals

Art is My Haven

I’m the daughter of two very creative people and the descendant of families who merged creativity with necessity to make life more comfortable, more beautiful, in decades when there wasn’t very much to create it from.

Beauty.

We all appreciate it.

We all seek it out.

We all, in our own way, long to create it even in the most austere circumstances. Perhaps, especially then.¬†When the world is ugly and pain strips dignity and strength away with ruthless persistence, we reach for beauty.¬†We long to create it with our hands, describe it with words, capture it in a photo, express it in harmonies complex and melodies simple, bake it in sweet and savory….

We all are born with the desire to create.

We are, after all, living reflections of the ultimate Creator.

Hope Came by Anna K. Pasquale  | Mixed-media, Anna K. Originals

The fragrant and inexhaustible richness of hope came to my rescue.

My mom’s death brought me to one of the lowest points I’ve ever been in my life.

It also brought me back to art, to a new way of merging it with my faith. Yes, I’d translated the Christian faith into art before, but this was not about Christianity as a whole, this was about my personal journey of faith and my relationship with God.

My art time has become both a time and place to commune with my Abba Father. It’s my haven.

Now I’m not saying that every time I create it’s a prayer meeting, per say. *chuckle* Sometimes, it looks a lot like frustration or anger…grief. Other times it’s playful or fiercely frenetic in an effort to create what I see in my head and heart.¬†No matter what my creative time looks like or produces, there is a conscious effort to leave room for God to move while I create and a thankfulness when He does.

In an effort to share the experience of merging art and faith, I’ve created a community called Made Tribe. At the bottom of every Made Tribe Spark email I send out, I include this reminder:

Allow yourself to enjoy the process of creating and feel free to use what supplies you have on hand. This is about encountering God in the midst of creativity, not being perfect. James 4:8 says, “And when you draw near to God, God will draw close to you…”

This is a reminder I often need for myself.

Maybe you do, too?

Don’t be afraid to cultivate creativity in your own life. May it be a haven for you as it has become for me.

Blessings,

Anna K.

{ To read why Art Matters to other creative hearts, join us here at a link party hosted by The High Calling. }

No longer silent

I was born in South Carolina.

I lived in different towns there until I was about 9 years old.

I remember many things about my time there. Like¬†sitting in pews under the watchful eyes of kind friends while my Momma and Daddy sang at different churches. The kindness of a certain man and his wife who helped my parents out when our car needed fixing and we didn’t have enough money to take it to the garage. I still remember the way that couple who, to most folks would appear rough around the edges, were so sweet to my brother and I. I can still smell the scent of a favorite five and dime store where they¬†sold the best Icees. Y’all, they¬†were just the thing to cut through the heavy weight of a Southern summer afternoon.

I remember learning to dance the Reebok and the Coca-Cola dances with the daughters of the lady who watched me and my brother. Her name was Sandra, pronounced Sah-ndra. I can still see her combing out her daughter’s beautiful soft, soft hair with that pink wide-toothed comb while she simultaneously kept control of the rest of the children in her house. She and her family were the first people of color I’d ever been up close and personal with. I still think of Ms. Sandra¬†and her strong, smart daughters.

I remember kindness, yes.

But I also remember tension and hate.

 

The town we lived in before we moved back to North Carolina to be closer to my parents’ families were still having KKK marches. In the mid 1980’s. I’m not sure why that still blows my mind. I guess I thought those were a thing of the past…I hoped they were a thing of the past.

But they weren’t. As a little girl who spent quite a bit of time in church and with parents who frequently talked about loving one another as Christ loves us…well, I was flummoxed. And horrified.

I still am.

But I got older and I became lax in guarding my mind and heart against thoughts and perspectives that went against what I had been taught about loving my neighbors.

Over the last couple of years I’ve become acutely and uncomfortably aware of that failing. In that process of realizing my need for change, I’ve been very fortunate to come in contact with some awesome folks who are diligently sharing a wealth of information and opening their hearts, sometimes even painfully, to share their perspective on racism.

I recently read a post by Deidra Riggs entitled, For Those Who Are New to the Conversation.

As I was reading Deidra’s powerful words a paragraph leaped out at me:

So, let me say this. Churches can get all up in arms about who gets to speak and to teach and proclaim truth from the pulpit. They want a certain gender or ethnicity or language or educational level or theological degree or sexual orientation to speak to them in hushed tones that sound good and that don’t rock their personal boat. But, when the Church abdicates its responsibility to speak truth to power and to utter words that turn over tables in our hearts and that call for justice and radical love and an end to excuses about racism in this country, well, I believe that’s why God gave us the Internet. That’s why God gave you a dining room table and a blog and a Facebook page and a Twitter account. You are the called. You are the chosen. You are God’s messenger in a world of Christians who can’t seem to get their act together.

Oh, wow, did those truth-saturated words grab me. I kept reading them over and over with a pounding heart. I knew that this was the permission I needed…permission I didn’t even know I was waiting for.

Permission to speak out against racism.

The permission to admit that I’ve had racist thoughts before.¬†

Yep, you read that right. Oh, I never used the N-word (I get nauseous when I hear it no matter who says it) or used any hateful behavior, but there was a definite “us and them” division in my thinking.

As I began to actively seek out more about the history of persons of color in our country, I realized what I’d thought of as a personal na√Įvet√© was more along the lines of gross ignorance. My mindset, my world, was narrow and skewed. I had a problem.

I realized that if I didn’t allow Christ to work in my heart to correct those thoughts, I could BE the problem.

Isn’t there a saying about the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem?

So I sat, read, and listened to the voices of color in my life. I learned. I’m *still* doing those things and I will continue to so I can share those lessons with my children as they grow.

I know in my personal journey towards racial healing, to promote it, ¬†I won’t always get it right. I’m petrified of making a mistake, of offending, of doing damage to the work so many others have fought to do.

But you know what?

I’m more petrified of remaining silent.

 


A few of the Voices who speak about racism and racial reconciliation better than I do:

A’Driane Nieves

Caris Adel

Deidra Riggs

Outside the City Gate

Lisha Epperson

Alia Joy


 

I understand everyone may not share my views. That’s okay. This is simply me sharing my journey. If you feel the need to comment, please keep it respectful. I feel silly even having to type that, but I know topics concerning race are capable of conjuring strong feelings. It’s a strong topic after all.

Love, though, is stronger. Remember that, dear ones. The greatest of these is love.

 

Blessings,

Anna K.