• "No, I don't sew my own clothes."
• What kind of sewing machine do you use? "I've worn out a 'school' machine and a 'high end import.' Until someone gives me a machine for free advertising, I’m not telling."
• How can you keep your prices so low? "By not using 'ecclesiastical,' handwoven fabrics imported from Belgium."
• How did you get started doing this kind of work? "By accident."
• How do you get your inspiration? "It’s a divine mystery."
• Do you have any other hobbies? "It’s not a hobby. It’s full-time work. I buy groceries and pay the mortgage with my income."
From artist Jeanette Paulson
• Training: Bachelor in fine arts (weaving and textiles) from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb; worked as a seamstress, taught art enrichment classes to children and arts appreciation to college students.
• Medium: Textiles.
• Niche: Stoles, albs, paraments.
• Training: Has "never had a home ec class." Self-taught, plus continuing education classes along the way.
• Medium: Textiles.
• Niche: Paraments, banners, stoles.
• Training: Bachelor’s in studio arts (painting and drawing concentration) and a commercial illustration certificate from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
• Medium: Acrylic fabric paint for liturgical textiles; acrylic, watercolor, pastel, ink, mixed media, lambskin vellum for other artwork.
• Niche: Stoles, children’s altar paraments, and urn/ossuary palls; artist-in-residence at congregations; religious art.
As a child, Anne Anderson was shaped and tended by life on an Illinois farm and a grandmother who sewed. Today, Anderson shapes and tends textiles that she hopes bring people closer to God.
"When we surround the word with the arts, often people are touched more deeply than by words alone, and strong visuals are a part of this," she said.
|Anne Anderson works on her craft in her Forest City, Iowa, home. She and two other artist friends—and countless more throughout the church—use their gifts to dress the chancel and those who serve.|
Anderson, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Forest City, Iowa, and two kindred spirits in the Midwest have created livelihoods making paraments and banners for worship spaces, and albs and stoles for pastors.
The second artist is Jeanette Paulson, who has been in this business for more than 28 years. She has apparently been asked "Do you have any other hobbies?" so many times she lists her answer under the frequently asked questions on her website: "It's not a hobby. It's full-time work. I buy groceries and pay the mortgage with my income."
Paulson, a member of First Lutheran Church, Duluth, Minn., also contends: "The use of the arts in worship isn't a luxury. Unless we use our creative gifts to the fullest, our praises to God the Creator will fall flat."
An artistic childhood is what led these two, and the third, Chillon Leach, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., into liturgical arts and friendship.
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