We got a new Youth Pastor nearly 5 years ago at our church – Faith Baptist Church in Peshtigo, WI.  I was trying to find a way to be a part of the youth ministry, but I wasn’t sure how I could fit in.  I’d tried being a Sunday School teacher, but I didn’t think that was one of my “gifts.” I met with Pastor Tim Harwell to talk about it.  He had some suggestions, but I wasn’t sure where God was leading me.  I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

As I left the church parking lot, a full-blown idea hit me – a Youth Art Ministry!  THIS I could do.  THIS was in my comfort zone and something I would be passionate about.  I immediately called my good friend (and art buddy) Karen and ran it by her.  She was as excited as I was, and we were so happy that Tim was excited by the idea, too.

Karen and I try to stress the fun side of art – the non-tradional, non-judgmental side of creating.  We stress that there are no mistakes, and we really encourage kids taking the projects off on entirely different tangents.  Pastor Tim usually shows up and does his best to attempt one of the projects.  He has glued gummy worms to acrylic paintings and other somewhat questionable projects, but recently we melted record albums and decorated them, and Tim’s was awesome!  He used Duct Tape and made a great bowl – see the above photo and judge for yourself!

I am grateful for his willingness to let us indulge our crazy art urges by creating this ministry.  When we have a YAM Jam, we play music and have snacks, and urge kids to use their creative side as a way to express themselves.  I feel priveledged that I might be part of facilitating a new generation of crazy creators!

Karen's lighthouse mosaic
Karen’s Lighthouse Mosaic

My friend Karen and I are a riot together.  I posted about an Artists in Residence day that we both participated in, and I realized she would make a great post herself.  Karen’s business is named Re-Creations Mosaics.  She used to be a successful decorative painter and very much in demand, but the stresses on her body were getting to be too much, so she sold that business. Now she channels her artistic urges into her mosaics, and they are something.  At first she was timid about showing them to people (she still gives away more than she gets to galleries!), but I talked her into doing a show at the Peninsula Art School in Door County, Wisconsin (specifically in Fish Creek) and they both sold, which blew her away!  I wasn’t surprised because I know how great her work is.  She has started to show them more, and I keep encouraging her to do more, because they are wonderful.

She and I have been friends since the fifth grade.  We were both crazy artist types, and we were the bane of Mr. Jones’ art classes.  I know he loved us, but we couldn’t have been easy to have in class.  We have always been able to inspire each other, and we sure have fun while we do it.  We try to get together regularly to do art projects, sometimes it’s jewelry for me and glasswork for her, but most of the time we try to paint, or collage, or some other medium.  She and I also are the leaders of our church Youth Art Ministry (YAM).  We get a group of the junior and senior high kids together and go crazy.  We call these YAM jams. 

Karen does her mosaics in much smaller pieces than I’ve ever seen – they are literally paintings done with glass pieces.  The detail and color is fantastic!  She typically does them on old salvaged windows (some from my old house), but sometimes she finds cool old frames and uses those, too.  Her creativity is contagious.I am working on her to get a website and Etsy account, etc.  For now I will just brag about her on mine.  The pictures don’t do her work justice, but I hope you can get the idea.

Sunflower Mosaic by Karen

Sunflower Mosaic by Karen

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