The art pieces below have been created for this year’s annual meeting around the theme of Tending Transformation. They will be displayed in the worship space June 23-25, 2022 during the annual meeting held at Goshen College, College Mennonite Church.
Meet our Artists
I began this project with the hope of finding inspiration in nature, seeking evidence of transformation tended by local creatures. Plenty of transformations take place unattended, so my observations were guided by wondering how transformations are different when nurtured—within the safety, support, and care of community. I learned, from the parables of these animals, that different transformations require different kinds of tending. In response to the teachings of Snake, Bee, Squirrel, and Beaver, I wove an ecosystem of four habitats, each revealing what may be made new through the hope-filled act of tending transformation.
Snake tends the transformation of herself. To cast off her old skin which has become confining as she grows, Snake must rub against something hard to begin splitting her protective outer layer. Her eyes become opaque with scales and she is made soft in this restorative process. Tending transformation is an act of vulnerability, a cycle of expanding.
Bee tends the transformation of her community. She pollinates as she sips nectar, giving and receiving gifts with the plants around her. Knowing her own gifts and recognizing the gifts of others allows Bee’s whole neighborhood to flourish. Tending transformation is an act of gratitude, a cycle of reciprocity.
Squirrel tends the transformation of her community. She buries walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts in excess. When the time comes, Squirrel unearths what she needs while the rest remains—an offering to the earth and a meal for her neighbors. Tending transformation is an act of trust, a cycle of abundance.
Beaver tends the transformation of her environment. She holds the past, present, and future together in one space. Beaver fells particular trees to build a safe, warm lodge, making way for new growth and shaping her entire ecosystem. Tending transformation is an act of imagination, a cycle of re-creation.
Joanne lives is Smithville, Ohio where she attends Oak Grove Mennonite Church. The title of her painting is
“Sipping it slowly”
“Taking it all in”
The Holy Spirit will guide us to stay on course as we look to the future. The path may be long and narrow at times. Even so, as we follow the path of Jesus, sipping slowly, we will come closer to His vision of the plan for us to follow, as we get up out of our seats and begin to walk the path of Tending Transformation.
Ron Headings lives in Bluffton, Ohio. His work can be seen at Headings Arts – Wire Tree Gallery https://www.headingsarts.com/
He created this tree to represent the transformation that occurs from season to season.
integrating the inner journey
anticipating new experience
keeping a beginner’s mind
staying gentle & focused
finding the still point
I will “paint ’til it sings”
Kathy lives with her husband in Goshen, IN and enjoys life
With two children, three grandchildren and spouses.
This art piece reflects the integration of the various threads of life
we experience with joy or sadness
in our world, our church, our families, ourselves,
integrating what is good,
weaving in what is torn and tangled,
letting each thread inform what is needed
to create health and wholeness.
Susie Huser lives and works in Nelsonville, Ohio. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.
How much do we control and how much wilderness do we let in when we tend transformation? In my own life, tending transformation has required welcoming wilderness, and I
believe we cultivate resilience when we try to honor or at least be aware of any given thing’s inextricable situation within a vast ecosystem. I work at a non-profit that has community gardens, and am constantly amazed by the magical transformation of sun and soil into food. We tend that transformation, but can’t take credit for much of the magic that happens, and also have limited control over the whole system. The garden in my painting integrates intentionally cultivated plants and the wild creatures that make gardening — tending transformation — possible, in part due to their own practice of transformation.
Julian’s art features timelapsed drawings with an original piano composition would play in the background.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall.”
I like how the tree in the passage first transforms itself, and over time transforms the habitat around it.
Rylee lives in Goshen, Indiana. She graduated from high school this June.
The first thing that came to my mind when I heard the theme Tending Transformation was change. It is inevitable and often times, if we allow it to, leads to transformation. However, it can be painful and leave us with a feeling of loss over what was. We can get so caught in this loss of what was that we don’t take the time to see what is and what is becoming. It is hard. It is so hard to see the new when we thought the old was good enough. That is why the “tending” part of this theme stood out to me so much. I wanted to focus on that in this painting and show how it can be difficult to let go of what was comfortable to us. But I also wanted to show how God has so much more planned. He has beautiful colors, new experiences, and a perfect plan for all of us. We just have to take the first step of tending the brokenness. Of stepping away from what was into what is becoming. Of shedding our skin to become something more beautiful that we could have ever imagined.