When I was eight years old my parents took me on my first and only trip to church – a midnight mass on Christmas eve. I was confused, really painfully confused – everyone seemed to know exactly what was happening and what to do besides me. I was so upset afterwards that my mom had to buy me a book of bible stories so that I would better understand what had happened. Since that day all of my religous experiences have taken place in nature (take the image of ice from Antarctica above as an example) and the only times I’ve stepped foot in churches is to admire the art and architecture. That changed last week. I was invited to be a keynote at the United Church of Canada’s National Gathering. The United Church has strong stances on social and environmental issues, and I was asked to join them to speak about climate justice and youth. The experience was unique. I spent four days at the gathering in Pinawa, Manitoba. I loved some of that time, hated a small portion (the vegetarian dinner options were less than stellar options like half a baked potato and spaghetti without any sauce), and re-lived my eight year old self’s feelings of confusion and alienation for portions.
The majority of those slightly uncomfortable moments were associated with the worship sessions (as someone who was trained as a geologist I can’t bring myself to sing the words to a hymn celebrating God controlling features like volcanoes). I can’t say that I left the event any more religious than when I walked in, but I did leave with a greater appreciation of the church’s values of building community and spreading beauty. And as I’ve reflected on the experience over the last week, that theme has continued to resonate with me. So much so in fact, that it has inspired me to update my blog to better reflect the values of beauty and community. I’ve re-done all of the pages, headings and banners associated with the Craft Project already (check out the before and after below and browse around the site to see the changes). I’m also making the commitment as of today to improve the photography in the blog, to make it inspiring as possible, and to increase the frequency of my posts to keep the blog as fresh and creative as possible. I’ve also started to spread the Craft Project into other online communities besides this blog and Facebook. There is now a Flickr set and a Ravelry profile (if you’re on Ravelry I’d love to be friends – I’m feeling a little lost in this new community at the moment as I try to figure it out). And I’d love to hear from you how else you connect with your fellow artists and crafters online to help with my quest to more meaningfully contribute to building the online craft community.