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Stories From The Studio: Opening Our Dream Drawer by Gabrielle Dearman

If our imaginations are broadened enough, something that seems unbelievable to us can seem possible; and we can come to our prayers expectantly.” – Luci Shaw

Carriage of Stolen Promise
Sandra Jane Heard

The discussion and sharing at this week’s River Oaks Artist Group centered around the importance of using our imaginations to realize our dreams. Pattie Ann Hale and Matt Tommey spent some time sharing about their recent trip to the Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts and the John C. Campbell Folk School. In particular, they described a sculptural/mixed-media piece they saw at the Bascom titled, The Carriage of Stolen Promise by Sandra Jane Heard that expressed the bound-up, sorrowful place of lack as it relates to dreams and ambitions not coming to pass. Pattie and Matt talked about how that piece of art deeply affected them, and led them to pray for the dreams of the artists in our communities. They also shared about how the John C. Campbell Folk School was established by the community around Brasstown, NC coming together and lending their land, labor, belongings, and hearts to make the dream of the folk school come true. Again, Matt and Pattie were impressed to pray while there in the school’s museum for people to rally around the vision of The Worship Studio so that life-long dreams could be established for artists in the Kingdom.

Sandy Loutner showed our group a recent mixed-media piece she completed. It was a metal file box that she painted and collaged. On the front of the drawer she put the word, “Dream.” The box spoke volumes to me! I thought about the artwork Pattie and Matt encountered, and when I saw the box and was able to hold it as it went around the circle of people, I opened the drawer. I thought about how so many creative people must have a place in their hearts like a little file drawer with all of their dreams tucked inside. So few actually open that place in their hearts, pull a dream out and believe it can be reality. As I closed the drawer and passed the box to the person on my right, I felt, strongly, the importance to continue being proactive about pursuing my dreams and being proactive in my creative journey.

There were other artworks shared by our group members that coincided with the dream theme. Diane McFerrin shared a painting of a chain being broken. It expressed her experience of being creatively set free. I was seeing the progression during our group of the process of dreaming – going from being stuck, having a place for dreams, to becoming free to follow dreams.

Jodi O’hara brought in a beautiful painting she had done that so wonderfully expressed a beautiful place of freedom and vibrant joy. There were hot air balloons and a bird in flight in her picture. Though she had recently painted that piece out of her place of joy, she shared that she was not currently in that joyful place and it was upsetting to her. Matt and Pattie both encouraged her that because she had faithfully expressed the place of joy in a tangible way, that it was hers… and that she could step back into that place. It helped her to see that God had given her an expression of the place of joy and that it truly was her reality, beyond what circumstances looked like currently in the natural. It was as if her God-inspired place of imagination was her place of refuge for the difficult times.

Chapter Five of Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw discusses the imagination and the role it plays in our creativity and faith. Luci uses the phrase, “possibility thinking” when explaining how we can use our imaginations to open up our prayers and believe for what our hearts long to see be made real. Romans 4:17 reminds us that God calls into existence things that do not not exist. We have that creative nature in us. As artists, that is what we do… we imagine, then through our creative process that is in step with the Spirit, we create – bring into existence something that was not there before. How astounding is that gift that we have been given in our spiritual and creative DNA!

What treasures of dreams are laying dormant inside you that could possibly be made real? I challenge you to open up that little file drawer in your heart and start revisiting some of the dreams you will find there.

The following video that Pattie Ann utilized in her sermon during Gathering of Artisans to inspire creative faith seems to be fitting with this idea of creating with imagination and vision in order to see our realities shift.


“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.