Building Community through Art/Pursuits with Purpose
Betsy Rice + Encaustic Art + Pursuits with purpose
How was I going to connect "community" with my new passion? This developed organically as I invited people into my studio to share my new hobby. There is nothing like experiencing something new with a friend. It doubles the joy. Turning my garage into my studio has given me opportunities to connect with my friends and community on a whole new level. I saw it as "building community" but one of my friends called it "fellowship".
The Merriam-Webster's definition of fellowship is:
1.) community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience ,
2.)meaningful communication for building trust.
EXACTLY! Lots of good music, fresh air, conversation, and laughter as we learn together.
Velveth and Her dad, Jay
Velveth and her parents have become beekeepers and were curious about painting with their beeswax. She brought her harvested wax to my studio and we got busy. …and may I say how yummy and sweet was the smell of her wax. I loved hearing the story of how they began keeping bees, how Velveth has never been stung, yet , her father got a “Jay Leno” chin from a sting. But my favorite part of this day was when Velveth left the room. Her father told me the story of when Velveth asked to get a tattoo. He was reluctant -until finding out what she wished to have “permanently marking her skin”…it was the date her parents adopted her. He then showed me his arm. The whole family went to get the same tattoo. He was beaming and so proud of his beautiful daughter. It reminded me of the scripture that says our name is written on the palm of the Father’s hand.
I haven’t painted with Terry….yet. But every time he comes by my studio, we are almost there. You see, I rent my studio space from him. He is a handyman, a landlord, a servant, and a missionary of sorts . He has a huge heart for the homeless and thinks the world needs more art. He told me a story about seeing homeless men in the woods when he was a little boy. At that moment he thought to himself, “if they are there, then what is going to keep ME out of that situation”. He said he knew he needed to be proactive and work hard. He went to a technical school and served in the military for several years. I asked him how he learned to “fix” things and and he told me when he was young he didn’t have toys so he busied himself with working with what was available. But the thing he said that stuck with me the most was this: “it was written”… . He kept repeating it. It took me a minute to figure out that he was referring to the fact that even as a little boy of 6 years, God was instilling in him the desire to care for the homeless and marginalized. His story was already written. Now he is building a diverse community in an old building right in the middle of Highland Park. I am thankful.
Joshua 1:9 fits Dawn perfectly.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid…. Dawn is a new friend (on the left) and today we had an impromptu painting session that started with a missed coffee date. When she was telling me all of the things she was interested in, I was blown away by her impressive diversity…jewelry mending, sewing, acrylics, pottery, wood burning. She told me that she didn’t have all of those talents, but that she just wasn’t afraid to try new things. She is brave to the bone and it made me want to go out and try all of the things on my bucket list. I mean, why not?! She sees beauty in the small things and really seems to look for how God has woven those small things just for her. I hope everyone has a “Dawn” in their lives. I am thankful she is now a part of mine.
The jewelry artist joined me in the studio.
June (left) came all the way from Orlando to paint with me. She makes exquisite jewelry but wanted to try her hand at encaustic. I was thrilled to have her in the studio. She was fearless…knew how to handle the torch…and wasn’t afraid to “mess up” . I loved hearing her work. When it wasn’t going the way she expected, she would say, “oh well…let’s try it this way” , and she would go a different direction. Makes me wish I could shift direction that easily-and not just with my art. Ann ( right) heard we were in the studio and brought her watercolors to work with us. I am thankful they aren’t afraid of a messy studio because I LOVED having friends with me.
Ann with her first encaustic.
She has played with watercolor but tried something new today. When people around me are willing to try new things, it makes me want to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.
Gracie is a college student FROM MOZAMBIQUE! and is one of my new friends. She has so much joy in every thing she does and sings while she works. Her joy is contagious.
Elena smiles all of the time and is a gentle soul. She squealed when she burned her shellac top coat and loved her end piece of art! Wish you could have heard that squeal.
This is Laurel.
She is a creative, an amazing photographer and likes to surf. She is also one of my daughter's best friends. Loved hanging with her and seeing her creations.
Ramsey was here for the summer working as a lifeguard. She is a college student and knew very few people when she arrived. Painting with her was a great way to get to know her.
Three in the studio was a bit crazy...but they encouraged each other as they each tried something new.
What I have learned about Ryn is that nothing will hold her back. She loves adventure and trying new things. She is full of energy and has a huge heart. She inspires me!
Veronica is one of my best friends...
but over the 30 years we have known each other, we have never "arted" together. This was so new for us and challenging. But look what she made!!!! ...so sweet and she gave it to her mom...even more special!
More college friends...
This day was full of joy! It was so fun to do this with these guys. Thomas, Elena and Will are sweet friends and really encouraged each other as they were unsure of the process. Will (right) was inspired by a book he had just read for school...something about the Black Forest maybe? Beautiful day!
and this is Mary...
Mary is my fourth and only child left at home. She likes to surf...even though we live in a landlocked city. She is fierce and I loved spending some rare time with her.
Merrile came over to create with me. One day I ran into her in the city and this is what she was wearing.
Her phone case: IT IS WELL
Her shirt: MY LIFE STORY WILL BE A GOOD ONE
This says it all!
Amanda is a friend of my son's. I love her sweet, gentle spirit. She is one of those people that is always game for anything. She loves to be outdoors so we just opened up the garage door and created!
This is Hilary. Check out those guns?! When we walk around together I tell people that I am her trainer. haha- Seriously, she makes me laugh. She is new to town but hasn't missed a beat. I have only known her a short time but I learned quickly that she is highly disciplined, has a heart of gold, and is loyal to the bone. I feel like we have known each other forever.
Michelle on the left and Leslie on the right.
I made a new friend today so we played in the studio. I learned that she owns a frame shop, has a really smart kiddo, and has been in Chattanooga for 17 years. I also learned that she has a curious mind, a giving spirit, and some serious creativity. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing your friends.
Giving back to a community is a privilege. Hoping this section becomes filled with opportunities to serve our community. This will change as the needs arise.
Donna Taheri (in the red dress) with her students at Howard High School
When Donna was planning on retiring, she took a job at Howard. That was 12 years ago! She has a heart for these kids and is often reaching out to the community to request help in meeting their needs. PURSUITS WITH PURPOSE will donate 35% of our proceeds over the next quarter in an effort to assist in the goal of providing excellence for these kids.
A portion of the registration fee will benefit the new school, Chattanooga Prep
Growing opportunities for the boys of Chattanooga-Chattanooga Prep