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Gathering Of Artisans 2012: A Celebration! by Gabrielle Dearman

Gathering of Artisans 2012 has come and gone, and now the time of reflection has begun. I have seen several postings on facebook from participants processing their experiences and sharing their highlights of the weekend. I knew this blog would have to be dedicated to writing about the Gathering, but with so many rich moments, it was a bit daunting to choose a particular aspect of the conference to write about. However, I have made a decision!

Several months prior to Gathering of Artisans 2012, I was praying and asking the Lord to show me what He wanted to emphasize about the conference. The word, “celebration” was clearly communicated to me in that prayer. The more I thought about Gathering of Artisans 2012 being a celebration, the more joy and peace I felt in my heart. Of course it would be a celebration! For me, year one seemed to be about becoming united and released into the “army of artisans” that Matt Tommey heard the Lord calling together. Year two, for me, was beginning to walk confidently as an artist, knowing I have a voice and a place in the “army.” And, as stated, this year was the year of celebrating!

What, exactly, is all the celebrating about? Well, first of all, it was a time to celebrate the journey that has been experienced thus far. There were people in The Worship Studio prior to Gathering 2010, and they are most worthy of celebrating. All the hard work done to break the ground, and get the ministry rooted and sprouting. Then, there are so many of us who have been tracking together since Gathering 2010. We can celebrate being able to have others around us who understand the way we think and create, and the fellowship we have created. There is also the reality that we have worked through all sorts of challenges the past couple of years. But we celebrate that we got through them as a united team, rather than having to continue living life as lone artists like so many have done. We have the River Oaks studio to celebrate about! That building has already helped us be more connected to one another and gives us all secure peace of mind in having a home-base here in Asheville for The Worship Studio.

One of the most amazing things to celebrate about Gathering of Artisans is all the various types of artists that join together during the weekend. We had quilters, painters, musicians, singers, basket-makers, writers, potters, photographers, dancers, drama artists, illustrators, jewelry makers, artists who knit or crochet, mixed-media artists, and more! That, in of itself, is an amazing experience — to be able to fellowship and learn from people in various creative skill-sets. My own experience at the conference was learning a new jewelry-making technique. I created a copper necklace, and loved the process so much, I am planning on delving more into jewelry design. I know my story is not the only one, I have heard many participants have a similar desire to keep experimenting with art mediums they were introduced to at Gathering of Artisans 2012!

Overall, we celebrate what God has been doing in the arts, and that He has called us together to glorify Him through our creative talents and skills. We celebrate the honor of being able to co-labor with our Creator. We celebrate God as the ultimate Master Artist, who has put his creative DNA in each one of us. We celebrate the favor and provision our ministry has seen, and celebrate the victories of our fellow artisans. We celebrate in knowing our souls are being nurtured, inspired, and refreshed. We celebrate that Gathering of Artisans 2012 has launched new vision in the participants’ lives and that this year will yield a new crop of creativity on this earth!

“Stories from the Studio” is our weekly series by Gabrielle Dearman where she will be sharing about the happenings at River Oaks – The Worship Studio’s local creative community here in Asheville. Check it out each week as Gabrielle shares highlights from our local artist group meetings, community days, workshops, and all the other great things happening in our creative community.