Workshop Number: 3
Leaders: dest/jess(ie)/etc. purvis, Keith Barch
Who May Register?: Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 25%
Discussion: 25%
Experiential Activities: 50%

Who May Attend?
part-time attenders welcome (can come any session)
half gathering attenders welcome

Half-Gathering Attenders Welcome:
First half (Monday-Wednesday)
Second half (Wednesday/Thursday-Friday)

How does the experience of using ones hands to create integrate with and inform our spiritual path? Bring existing work or an interest in learning something new. We will explore how making can provide space for creativity, contemplation, and affirmation. Co-led by a beader/seamstress and a jeweler/armorer.

Workshop Description

We plan to create a space in which people can bring their art/handwork projects in progress and share or learn a new skill (sewing, beading, chain maille, others). Our particular skills are in beading, sewing, chain maille (the art of weaving patterns with loops of metal), jewelry making, blacksmithing, and shell work, but we are open to other forms people want to share, such as spinning, knitting, weaving, or carving. The forms we practice have long traditions, some going back long before recorded history, but they continue to grow and change as new makers bring their own creative energy to the work.

We will open in worship and move into worship sharing around a particular word, theme, or short reading that provides the jumping-off point for talking about a variety of topics. We are open to the leadings of the group as they emerge, but some possible topics to explore are:

  • How can our handwork serve as spiritual practice? What is the connection between our work and the Divine?
  • How does our handwork help us focus beyond the Now?
  • How does our work relate to our identities in empowering or unhelpful ways?
  • What is the relationship between art, craft, and design? How do we approach our work with humility and self respect?
  • What is the impact of handmade art in an increasingly digital world?
  • How do order and chaos fit into our approach to our work?
  • Is the work itself the reward or is it the time the work affords us to think and be present?

Then there will be time just to sit and work together in communion. We have missed the old crafting workshops and would like to create that kind of setting once again. This kind of format will make it easy for people to drop in and for parents who need extra time to settle or pick up their children to slip in or out. Age isn’t a factor in learning or practicing most handwork, so incorporating teens and older adults will be easy.

Leader Experience

Jess has co-led a high school class on beading and has been a Gathering participant since childhood, which provides a lot of perspective on how workshops succeed (and a few that have failed!). She has also been leading a version of this workshop with Judy Purvis at the last few Gatherings. Keith has been added to the workshop leadership team to share his gifts around Chain Maille and jewelry making. Keith has been making chain maille for over 20 years, and brings a general knowledge of Art and handwork of various styles, and has led a few workshops and lessons over the years.

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