öCEAN PARK — Family Worship Center pastors, Don and Brenda Mower, saw a need in the community for people with aspirations of creating arts and crafts to learn skills from those with more experience. Pastor Don came up with a solution. He named it the Oikos Collective.
Standing at a table with evidence of art supplies on his hands, from glue stick to paint, he explained the concept during a short break from making collages with his son, Ezra.
“This is a community for artists and crafts people. I developed it myself. Our church developed a ministry built around Oikos, which means family or house.” That’s the first stage.
He went on to explain other factors included in this three-stage philosophy. “The second part is fellowship. The third, discipleship.” Oikos is an ancient Greek word and its concept dates back to Aristotle.
But this is not a church service. There is no collection place passed around. Pastor Brenda explained, “Pastor Don’s vision for Oikos Collective isn’t so much an introduction to art as it is an artist collaborative where trained and seasoned artists can sit alongside beginners. Everyone has art and beauty inside of them and the Oikos Collective is an outlet for expressing that art and beauty.”
Art for everyone
Pastor Don said that beginners to more advanced artists can flourish in this environment and that was evident at the first monthly event on Saturday, Feb. 23, when local artist, Barbara Martin, taught several community members how to make collages. All the materials were provided. On a long table at the back of the room, there were stacks of magazines, rolls of crepe paper, a box of glue sticks, tissue paper, some burlap fabric and scores of other supplies ready for use.
Pastor Don admitted that he has “no art skills,” yet he scooped up several different supplies, sat with Ezra and promptly dove into his first college.
Others did the same. Within minutes, one of the round tables was strewn with magazines and hands wielding crafts scissors were at work cutting pieces with no hesitation. Martin was casually walking through the room offering advice and encouragement. “Start with your background,” she said “and build on top of that.” She suggested they choose some kind of reference picture from a magazine, photos on their phones or other sources and do a quick sketch of their basic idea on a piece of paper separate from the actual collage base.
On a creation of her own, atop a base of paper that was fairly heavy, like a piece of mat board, she started her background with wrapping paper and then added a variety of colors and textures to create a portrait college of Vincent van Gogh. Martin is a long time painter and muralist and a former secretary for the Peninsula Arts Association. She quickly set a plan and used her skills to complete it.
Others at the class were not hesitating with their projects either, including one who first said, “I only came to observe,” but soon grabbed a pair of scissors in one hand and a magazine in the other and started cutting pieces for her own collage.
Free or low cost
This was a successful first attempt at Pastor Don’s plan. Once a month, he and wife, Brenda, will provide this type of artistic environment for people who want do various types of art or crafts. They will call upon skilled artists on the peninsula to teach and make access easily available to community members. Pastor Brenda said, “We are trying our hardest to keep it free or low cost.”
The next class will be on Saturday, March 23, featuring techniques of oil painting led by Elizabeth (Liz) Todd. She has won numerous local and national awards and is a signature member of the American Academy of Women Artists.
Todd was at the collage class and when asked, explained that she first learned using pastels, but soon moved on to oil painting. “I absolutely love oil,” she said.
Her class on March 23 will start at 2 p.m. in the church all purpose room. “We will try to wrap things up by 4 p.m., but we will be flexible to the moment. If the instructor needs more time to instruct, or if the participants need more time to finish their projects, we will accommodate them,’ said Pastor Brenda. She went on to say that preregistration is not required at this time, but that might change, “if it catches on and a lot of people start participating.”