A creative collaborative conversation in action...
Last week I had the honor of getting to hang out with my good friend and artistic mentor Dean in his shop. We collaborated together on a project that required us to build 3 large wooden canvas frames (each 5ft by 7ft) and then cut and stretch canvas onto them. The canvases are for a larger collaborative project that will be implemented next week with several artists from VineArts as we facilitate a collaborative creative experience for a large group of incoming students at a local college in the area. I love making things with my hands. I’m much more at home in a wood shop or art studio than I am in an office cubicle or board room. The real fun part about the last 2 days was the deep conversations that Dean and I were able to have together...sharing stories, asking questions, listening to each other, learning from each other, speaking into each other’s lives. We accomplished our tasks, but more than that we held space for each other.
After Dean and I built the 3 wooden frames (5ft by 7ft) and stretched the canvas they went to Jessie and Alicia for design and outline. The design is based off of the book “Can You Drink the Cup?” by Henri Nouwen....a book about fully entering into who you are called to be in life. The 3 main lessons are 1) Holding the cup. 2) Lifting the cup. 3) Drinking the cup. HOLD. LIFT. DRINK. ...this is what we do with the life we've been given.
Then a group of 9 of us from VineArts facilitated a 3 hour collaborative painting activity for a group of over 60 people (most of them high school students attending a special conference weekend about seeking their Life Calling at a local university in the Boise, Idaho area).
Dean has led these kinds of large group collaborative artistic events for NNU for many years and loves to invite fellow artists and ministers to join him as facilitators, getting the chance to collaborate together as a team and join in the conversation that God is already having with young people as they enter into adulthood.
We provided the paints and the brushes and all the supplies (Dottie, Kameron, Judi, Alicia and Sharon along with myself and Jessie helped at the tables) and together everyone in the room took turns at painting on the canvases as Dean, Jessie, myself, and Franklynn shared stories from our lives and spoke to the group about the topic of Calling, tying into the book that we had all read. There was also a couple of musicians from the university that played music in between giving a peaceful inspiring atmosphere. After the students moved on to their next activity our team grid the back of the canvases and cut them up into equal pieces. This collaborative activity was at the beginning of the students weekend and they will each randomly receive a piece of the canvas at the end of the weekend...as a memento but also as a symbol that who they are as individuals is important to the big picture.
This was the 4th time I’ve been able to be a part of the collaboration and each time has been an incredible experience.