It has been almost a year since I began The heART Series, and I have been incredibly blessed by each of the artists who've participated! I started this series mostly out of my own curiosity. I've always been creative, but to be honest when I thought of "creative worship" I immediately thought of worship music, and music alone. As a musical person, that didn't seem wrong to me until my creativity started developing also through writing, lettering, painting, and other mediums. I began to wonder what sort of backgrounds, lifestyles, processes, and ideas other Christian creatives had, and deliberately excluded worship music from this series... at least for the first year. <wink, wink>
I wrote the questions with the help of my husband. He and I are both creative (he is extremely musically gifted), so the questions we came up with together were questions that we genuinely wanted answers to!
I am so happy to say that we are in the tenth month of the series, and I cannot wait to see where God will lead us as we move forward!
Artists: CLICK HERE TO APPLY if you're interested in participating!
If you've missed some and you'd like to check out other interviews from the series, click here to catch up. Otherwise, keep reading for some fresh inspiration!
Paulene Cruse of Leen Machine Calligraphy & Design
Hi friends! My name is Paulene Cruse of Leen Machine Calligraphy & Design. It's been a year since I took the leap of doing my business full time. I dreamt of doing so for the last 5 years of being in business. It definitely hasn't gotten any easier and it still consistently tests my faith and trust in the Lord. However, He continues to encourage me every step of the way even though at times I don't know where I'm going. I live in Columbia, South Carolina with my sports fanatic husband and our two rescue beagles, Sunshine and Rose. We added our almost 4-month-old daughter in February to the mix. It's been a beautiful, sometimes exhausting but so rewarding journey through motherhood.
the life in between: When did you first learn to (or realize that you could!) dance, paint, sew, write, style, photograph, etc. What is your heART story?
Paulene: I knew I was destined to do something artistic with my life as soon as I chose to do dance classes and be a part of the choir in school. I was also very introverted and emotion-driven growing up and the arts was a great outlet for me. As long as I'm creating and being creative, I'm in my element and I feel most fulfilled.
tlib: While you're immersed in a project or a piece, what are some things going through your mind? Do you pray? Do you praise?
Paulene: I often pause and think about how blessed I am to be able to do what I love. If it's an encouraging print or baby stationery set I'm sending out, I often pray that it brings joy to the recipient. I am pretty much forever grateful that of all the amazing talent in this world, there are people who choose me.
tlib: Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you to get started? Can you turn your creativity on and off?
Paulene: Most of the time, it starts with planting myself on my chair and getting my tools out on my desk. Basically, just starting. For me, I've learned I have to be there and simply show up before creativity or anything happens.
tlib: Do you prefer to share your work or do you like to keep it just between yourself and God? Why?
Paulene: I prefer to share my work and I ask myself, "Will this encourage someone? Is this information useful? Could this provide joy to someone's day?" I often pray to the Lord to work through me to produce content or work that reflects His glory.
tlib: If you share your work, how do you promote your art in a way that glorifies God?
Paulene: Instead of focusing on promoting, I mostly choose to inspire and to help. If I could let someone know that they're not alone in what they're going through or if I could encourage someone to try out calligraphy, that's the best feeling. It's like I'm fulfilling my purpose.
tlib: How do you take compliments? How do you stay humble without denying your unique skill?
Paulene: I used to be real bad at compliments. I would downplay it when someone would compliment me and point out the imperfections instead. Okay, I still do that sometimes. Nowadays, I do thank them. However, I don't let it get to my head, knowing full well that I will always be learning and refining my craft. I'm totally okay with that.
tlib: Do you believe that God can be glorified through secular art? How can secular work still point to Jesus?
Paulene: I believe it depends on the heart and purpose. If it is done in a positive, loving tone or with genuine heart, and it improves people's lives for the better, then I believe it still points to the Lord.
tlib: What is a dream or vision you have in regards to how your work may impact hearts and souls for Christ?
Paulene: My dream has always been to help others and encourage them to celebrate life and its biggest moments. Weddings and babies will always have a special place in my heart -- both are such a celebration of life. I want to use my talents to help with these events so that others may focus on what matters most -- savoring the special, fleeting moments. I hope at the end of my days, I will look back and think, "I used all the gifts and talents God blessed me with and I shared it completely with others."
tlib: Lastly, for fun, who (living or dead, and besides God) are you most inspired by when it comes to your art?
Paulene: I am most inspired and in awe of moms out there juggling kids and business like Lara Casey. Anyone who is not afraid to be real and open about their struggles, I've found, is most encouraging to me and my art.
Paulene (and Leen Machine Calligraphy) was one of my first lettering inspirations; she was one of the first introductions I had to the world of modern calligraphy, and through the discovery of modern calligraphy I found brush lettering, modern lettering in general, and finally bible journaling. So I have much, much love for Paulene and her work! (Thank you, Paulene!)
Friends, leave some love for Paulene in the comments section, down there! ⤵︎