Created Creative

There is a wall in my home studio where I find myself displaying quotes or images that inspire me. There are words there from Louis Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Madeleine L’Engle and my dear grandmother, to name a few. I wrote directly on the wall with Sharpie® markers because I really don’t care about the marketability of the house later on (are you shocked?!?!?), at least not when it comes to the studio. My studio is definitely among my favorite places, not so much because of the environment but because of what happens there.

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.


-Duke Ellington

In the spring of 2005 I moved my bench to a studio collaborative downtown. After so many years of working from my cool home studio, I decided to go “public”. I like being more accessible to clients, and having my work be more readily available. I do still have the home studio, and sometimes it moves to different parts of the house, but mostly it is home to all my painting supplies.
The downtown studio is home to a variety of metalsmithing techniques. There is a waist-high 24-inch-thick log, called Isabel after the hurricane to which she surrendered, where one of my anvils is perched. There’s a small forge, my homemade bench from the desk that was my husband’s first when he began his career, a bandsaw given to me by my father, the hot table (two soldering stations), a belt sander, the found object gallery, a buffing wheel, four benches (two are mine, two for my apprentices), grandma’s big metal snips, and a host of vices, pins, hammers and other tools. In the home studio is my painting (or, painted!) table, shelves with supplies, art books, music, a floor cushion for emergency naps or prayers, lots of white canvas and paper, a couple of desks, a chalkboard that is never big enough, and my fish, Stanley, and his orchid, which we rescued from overwatering at the big-box home improvement place.

Don’t run with scissors.


-Paynter Family Wisdom

I fill my days with explorations of designs and techniques through completing custom pieces for clients as well as whatever the latest series is of pieces for the gallery. My work is both creative and technical, and my gratitude for vocation and clarity of purpose is abundant. The depth of my journey continues to surprise me. My life has consistently taken turns that I wouldn’t have imagined growing up in rural North Carolina. There I learned many things about the reliability of God, first communicated to me through the consistency of His creation — the seasons, the path of the sun, the cycles of living and dying. I much preferred time spent alone outside the house than time spent accompanied inside the house. And even now despite the people surrounding me in close proximity every day, I am still much a person of solitude. I find that since my time alone is so limited these days compared to the days of my childhood, I am learning the joy of leaving my thoughts unexpressed until it’s time.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.


-Albert Einstein

I believe I have been created creative. As a child I was allowed to just be a kid. I was afforded lots of play time, which was really when I was learning to create. I produced nothing of great worth during this time — no masterpieces on canvas or significant sculptures — but I was learning the process of free-flowing creativity, which now is absolutely essential to me. My first manifestation of creativity was verbal. I excelled in most things of language and pursued a degree in journalism. I loved the few years I worked with my husband in community journalism. It afforded me experiences in photography, graphics, design, writing, interviewing, editing and darkroom technology. I would receive an assignment, interview interesting people and take pictures, and then later while driving or cooking or drifting off to sleep, the story’s lead would come to me, in full form with perfect phrasing and grammar and punctuation. I learned to write it down instantly, for if I did not it would be gone later. I discovered I was part of something larger than myself.

What we play is life.


-Louis Armstrong

During the course of my undergraduate journalism study I took my first studio art class. It was simply a drawing class — still life and life forms. My skills were meager but my quiet enthusiasm generous. This gesture drawing is from that period. Later I left journalism when my primary companion became my first daughter. In some ways we grew up together — she was learning to trust me as I provided her food and rest and a place to take her first steps, and I was learning to trust myself and to trust God to provide our food and rest and to lead my steps.

The aim of an artist is not to resolve a question irrefutably, but to compel one to love life in all its manifestations, and these are inexhaustible.

–Leo Tolstoy

When my daily work no longer resided in language I realized the range of applications of my creativity. I learned that my hands love to be intimately involved. I had begun making beaded jewelry while in college, and as I continued doing so I struck a wall. Beads just were not enough for me anymore — not complicated enough, not bizarre enough, not rare enough. After having commissioned a metalsmith to craft our wedding bands several years before, I believed metalsmithing to be the next level for me in the world of art jewelry. I saved money to buy tools, read everything I could find on the subject, but could not proceed without some hands-on training. I took a beginning metals class at a nearby city arts center and plunged completely into metal. I found it to be a medium of wonderful response to the artist. It is a force that demands collaboration with the artist instead of submitting to the will of the artist.

Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small, it takes time — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

Over the years I have explored metals and painting and fabric. It seems that most people who know me would first describe me as creative. I often hear people say they have “not a creative bone in their body”. As often as I’ve heard that from people, I tend not to believe it. Creativity is not manifest only in artists. Creativity is an approach to all of life. But in my case, creativity is manifest in art. I may not always find time to do the laundry or wash the car, but I am never without the development of something new from my hands. It’s not intentional. I don’t include “do something creative” on my to-do list. But I breathe. I sleep. I create.

We are human and humble and of the earth, and we cannot create until we acknowledge our createdness.

–Madeleine L’Engle

To create art is to participate in a collaborative process. The most exciting stuff happens when I set myself aside and allow God to create yet again through me. Any statement I could make about God will be incomplete, but I believe God is a dimensional being with facets I can only begin to fathom, and among them is God as the Great Creator. Any talents or abilities that God has given me are not mine but God’s. All that I do, I do to glorify God. I spent many years trying to live my life and fix myself and accomplish various things on my own, acknowledging God but not engaging God. They were painful but necessary years. Without them I would not know what I know for sure, and that is that God is my Redeemer and my friend.

Straightaway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God.


-Johannes Brahms

Art without faith isn’t really art. It is something else entirely different — some sort of humanistic expression of self. Art carries the artist and the subsequent viewers/participants to a place of spiritual engagement. The artist is a participant in something much larger than herself, something higher, something extraordinary. The creation is the testimony to that precious collaboration. Those who experience the piece for generations to come are the witnesses, and the art of their lives, whether in ways small or large, is shaped by their awareness of that spiritual engagement. That contact may bring you to a place of elation or a place of sorrow, confusion, or deliberate ambivalence. Whatever it is, it is a reaction. It is a reaction from you that was spurred first by action and that becomes forevermore a piece of your history. When a song touches you or a painting moves you or a book makes you angry, when a film makes you cry or a meal fills your void or a hug relaxes your muscles, you have been spiritually engaged.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.



Let me express my gratitude to you for your interest in my work. If you are still reading this, which is actually my artist’s statement, you have given me a bit of your precious time, and I thank you for that. ………….ginger

If you are interested in reading more about the Theology of Art, I recently discovered an interesting blog on the topic here.


~ by gingermeekallen on September 11, 2008.

4 Responses to “Created Creative”

  1. Ginger, I love your Created Creative blog. Have even read a couple of these quotes before, and you quote Albert Einstein, one of my favorite people of all time. A quote that I’d never heard before is the one from Brahms – it gave me a chill and sent an emotional vibration over me. Without “thinking”, I thought “that’s what happens.” That’s what happens! And we all get that when we listen – it ain’t exclusive. What really struck me, tho, is that you allow yourself to write on your walls! Look out world, here I come with my Sharpie and all of those quotes I have been saving up…”Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton). Hugs to you Ginger.

  2. […] { November 13, 2008 @ 8:34 pm } · { Studio Happenings } { Tags: artist, creative process, enrichment, studio } During the drive to Quirk Gallery in Richmond, Va., last week, fellow metalsmith Tara F. and I talked about the nuances of the creative life, or, the duties of having been created creative. […]

  3. Hey, I came across your blog on a random search and saw the confucious quote you got on there: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”
    Amen to that.

  4. […] During the drive to Quirk Gallery in Richmond, Va., last week, fellow metalsmith Tara F. and I talked about the nuances of the creative life, or, the duties of having been created creative. […]

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