everything new is coming! it is on its way!
until then, stand down and bear the last few weeks of winter, and we’ll see you soon.
(preorders, you are not forgotten! we have goodies in mind for you!)
Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us. (Psalm 90:17)
The Spirit of the glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:14)
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13)
don’t try so hard to try so hard
seek first His Kingdom
(all the rest will be added)
commit all the works of my hands to Him
the music i make echoes what is in my heart,
so focusing on the heart is key.
This makes a difference.
One I’m very excited about.
About a month ago, I sat down at the piano and played a little riff in G.
[I go through cycles of what instrument I like to play. I am a vocalist by trade, and most of my training is in vocal performance and a little bit of theory. Instruments are definitely not my forte, so I just flit around to whichever one I feel most welcomed by at the moment. Two months or so on guitar, two months on piano, and back and forth. Here, I am in my piano cycle and happy.]
I started singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on top of it, and knew (despite more advanced chord changes) that I needed to work it out to be able to record this little arrangement of the song.
This is also my first time using an interface, a mic that is not inside the computer with a stand and everything, the “master volume” on garageband, and bandcamp. iiii know!
if you are an artist and also working “normal” jobs, i HIGHLY recommend this lovely book by summer pierre. it truly is an honor to do art in life and in everyday tasks.
there are also many steps we can take and mindsets to take on to enjoy our work (which may be otherwise totally separate from our art) AND motivate our art. it is so encouraging to know that art is work, too, and yes, we CAN have two jobs!
it is complete with inspiring (and adorably presented) quotes, recipes for little indulgences (mocha, anyone?) on a teeny budget, ideas for adventures on lunch breaks and weekends, and overall how to funnel meaning and art into a job that could seem mundane.
this book gets the SAM STAMP OF APPROVAL! hope you buy it, borrow it, or check it out at your local library, and find motivation to continue your art!
local art + culture: a look into one of my jobs and how it makes me think of music and other big stuff, too
I am a creative through and through. I feel 100%, and am constantly analyzing beyond face value. I play internal monologue in my head like a movie narration. Michael’s craft store is still one of my favorite places to go and the sound of ESPN makes me have a nail-on-chalkboard reaction.
I, Samantha, despite all of my fighting to be cool-normal, super successful-seeming, and generally well-loved and admired, am a grade A socially strained “bless-her-heart” artist. somewhere in there i hit great strides of normal, successful, and likeable because of God’s grace and humor. Overall, it’s kind of a perfect storm of awkward artist. And i like it.
I think it will be a while until I’m really comfortable in my own God-given skin but, by His grace, I am growing so content in who I am. Of course, the next step beyond that is realizing what that means for me, right here, where I am.
I work a few part-time jobs, one of which is helping a local designer to make and sell handbags. It’s a small shop in downtown Raleigh, two doors over from one of my favorite coffee shops (their Sumatra is wonderful) and right in the middle of a kind of Raleigh Renaissance. Holly, who grew up and went to school in Raleigh, began designing her own handbags out of vinyl 7 years ago and has since become a kind of local mogul. She hits a few key points which I believe make her art a sensation. It’s handmade in the store by a very small team of women. Here we have local products, handmade design, and a sense of community and pride. On any given day you may see Holly sewing in the store with her big lab ReyRey sleeping on the floor by her side. Holly is an artist, and in being such in the way of her shop, she is changing the community around her.
So what does that mean of local art in a community? I think it means a few important things.
Local Art begets Local Art
People like Holly give permission to others to make art, bet on it, and let others see and enjoy it. This also means letting people not enjoy it, but either way, it is out there. It is something that represents you and your surroundings, and it is art, no matter the tastes of the observers. Chances are, just the fact that you put it out there boldly will make people appreciate it.
Community Pride and Identity
Art is what makes people drawn to a community. It is the thing we identify our city with. What is there to do in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Atlanta or Raleigh? Or ANY city? I believe so much of that comes from the art and the artists in a place. Businessmen and women can do their work and enjoy the art around them, and be proud of it. Families can enjoy the art in a community. And artists can come together, encourage (or challenge) one another. We’re in the middle of that here, and I love it.
Changing a culturally bereft area into a culturally rich one
This is the outcome of art in a community. There is something starting in the Raleigh area that is giving me permission and motivation to write music here and connect with others doing their art, too. I like that I can go to the coffee shop and see local artists with their sketchbooks or writing lyrics, or working behind the counter. Raleigh is my home, and yes, I could live plenty of other places, but I’m here, now. What am I doing to improve my art here? Because it’s not insignificant.
playing by myself is a particular feat i have not mastered. it will take time, practice, preparation, effort, prayer, and most of all, failure.
i may have to fail many many more times. but raleigh, in this way, seems nestle-y, with friends, supporters, & truest loved ones. i can fail and fail and stink and mess up, and they stand beside. but even if they didn’t, would i still feel compelled to face this feat of playing alone?
at the heart, i just know a few things:
the Lord gave me song. i may not be the most eloquent speaker, conversationalist, or writer, but the medium of song allows instant access to the deeper things, the roaring river of my thoughts and heart. and sometimes it’s nice to share that with people. maybe they’ll be encouraged to hear. maybe i’ll never be musically great or tight. i could be, but do i want that? most? but people may still want to hear. maybe only always on a small level. i just know i’ll always do it between myself and God, and that will always be sacred, and He’s always close in that music.
I can’t be afraid if no one else ever hears. I can’t be afraid if they do.
because i care about it, i know the Lord cares about it and wants to reveal more things to me, to guide me. i want to sing loud. i want to play powerfully. in time, i know. what does it look like to be a good steward of this gift?