You’re more creative than you think

God, the greatest of all creators, the One who fashioned the Sun, and the humpback whale, and the Great Dane, made us in his image. The Divine image has been stamped upon us. We alone are made in the image of God. God has given us the glorious task of representing him on the earth. Of showing the world what our God is really like. Of showing the watching world that our God is a creative master who loves to bring beauty out of chaos.

Here’s an excellent post by Stephen Altrogge on creativity:

Make God Look Great. Create.

Sprayed Designs for Hessian Banners

The Journey live event

We recently had a special little event in my lounge.

We’d been planning for a couple of years to do something that mixed music with video, and late 2015 we finally got proper plans together to do this as a live event. We invited about 40 people over (plus crew) and on 19th March recorded a three and a half hour event featuring stories and songs, together making an autobiographical lounge gig-ish thing. We’re calling it ‘The Journey’.

I’ll write another post about the whole thing once we’ve published a few of the songs for you, but this post is about the decor.

Problem Solving

Every design decision should solve a problem and I had two problems to solve: sound reflections and aesthetics.

As we were recording with speakers in the room we needed to minimise the sound reflecting off floors and walls back into microphones. We fixed the floor issue by putting rugs on the floor and closing the curtains helped a bit, but needed something extra.


An early idea for sound barriers: rolls of foam stapled to mobile frames

Early on I’d planned to create some freestanding foam sound barriers, but in the end the hassle of making them all and the visual appeal of hessian changed my mind. I know hessian isn’t the softest, most absorbent material, but hopefully it made some difference stretched from floor to ceiling.

Aesthetically speaking, we had a few pictures up on the walls that we didn’t want to draw attention away from what was going on in the room, but taking them down left big blank walls. I’m a fan of well placed space in a scene, but this blankness would have looked odd in that context.

The room is split into three sections by pillars at the walls with beams along the ceiling, so I opted to fill in the outer two-thirds with wall hanging banners, stapled to frames. A simple, interesting but not too obtrusive design seemed appropriate.

The Design

I wanted a pattern with interesting variation that would be easy to apply. Inspired by the angular lines of this wallpaper (much like the Beijing National Stadium) I decided to go for a similar effect. Initially I wanted the lines on all the banners to line up but in the end this was more faff than it was worth.


20m of high quality hessian cut into eight 2.5m strips
Two rolls of 50mm masking tape
Two 400ml cans of satin wine red spray, to match the curtains
Lengths of lath, screws, tape, drill, saw, mugs of tea…


One of the banners

After spraying up the first few banners I refined my method. I’d start with a few longer bold, angular lines of tape, then fill in with smaller lines, occasionally stopping them when they met the first pieces of tape at various places. I’d then spray the whole thing with heavier spray nearer the top of the banner (holding the can closer and using slightly slower motions), lessening the spray as I went further down the banner.

Then I’d peel off a few of the shorter lines of tape I added last and respray touches near the points they’d crossed over the tape that remained. This created depth as it added shadows around some of the lines, giving a bit of “pop”.

It was surprisingly easy.

The frame for holding the banners

One of the frames. Wasn’t as wobbly as it looks, that’s just funny pano stitching software.

As I needed to dismantle the whole thing after the event I didn’t want to screw the frame into the wall or damage the paintwork, so it took a bit of work making the frames wedge into the gaps well enough to hold themselves in place.

Sprayed hessian banners on the wall

The last job was to simply staple the banners to the frame.

Panorama view of the room during setup

The final look during setup, with the hanging banners lit by some bright diffused lamps

All in all I think the event was a hit. It just goes to show it’s quite easy to make attractive decor for filming at low cost.

You can expect to see videos of the songs and stories being released gradually over the coming months on our YouTube channel. If you’d like to see them as they’re released click here to subscribe to the channel.

Boast; Boast Not: The Tale of Four Trees | A Parable

This is the second parable in our series, with a contribution from writer and Jesus Centre volunteer Julia Faire. Read other posts in the parables series.

A tree standing on a hill

Once there were four trees: an apple, an oak, a pine and a tree no one knows the name of – so I have called it the Strange-Tree.

Every spring the apple tree was decked with white blossom, as a bride, beautiful and splendid, and the bees gathered in droves around her delicate white-cupped flowers to draw from the sweet nectar. As the months passed by, the tree’s branches began to sag under the magnificent crop of shiny green apples that it bore. People came from far and wide to admire the beauty and the fruit of the tree.

And the tree boasted: “Am I not the greatest of trees? For to what other tree do people come each year with their baskets in order that they may fill them with such wonderful fruit?”

And the majestic oak stood proudly on a hilltop. The tips of its branches towered above all the other trees; many birds made their nests amongst its foliage and a multitude of insects made their homes in the crevices of its bark. And in the hot summer months people came and sat in its shade and wondered at the strength of the magnificent tree. In the autumn showers of acorns fell, as deadly ammunition, from the branches of the tree and all feared to come near such a dangerous arsenal.

And the tree boasted: “Am I not the greatest of trees? Am I not taller than all the other trees of the forest? Am I not stronger than they? Am I not more deadly and fearsome than all the other trees?”

Down in the valley, by a raging river, stood a tall pine tree, cloaked with pine cones. Its trunk was long and straight and it stood erect and sure-footed as it straddled the mountainside.

And the tree boasted: “I am not as tall as the oak, neither do I bear fruit for people to eat like the apple tree and yet surely I am the greatest of trees for my beauty is constant. I never lose all my leaves like the other trees; my colour adds greenery to this bleak valley every month of the year. And my cones bring warmth and light as they burn on home-fires during the long cold winter months? Surely I am more beautiful and more useful than they?”

And another tree stood off, in a distant place, where the soil was poor and not much rain fell. The tree was squat and its branches were straggly and many thought what an ungainly tree it was. No one really knew what this tree was, for it was different from all the other trees; its fruit was oddly–shaped, red and gold and small and no one in the shops wanted to buy it. And when people walked by the tree, many of them sniffed at it and turned away. But the poor creatures came and ate of the fruit, the fruit which no one wanted and found themselves strangely nourished for the long winter months when no other fruit could be found.

And this tree made no boast at all but year after year continued to bear its strange looking fruit, to the dismay of some and the delight of others.

cut-downOne day some men came to look at the tree.” Let us cut this strange tree down and use its branches for wood,” they said. “Its fruit is no use except to the poor creatures and they can find something else to eat. We can use this land for better things than to grow this strange tree on,” and they chopped off its branches. And the poor creatures howled and cried; some scampered away whilst others hugged the tree’s desolate trunk.

And that night there was a terrible storm; such a storm had never been seen before. Fierce lightning flashed across the dark sky and thunder peals shook the very foundations of the earth. A great wind came, howling and mighty, and tore at everything in its path.

The apple tree tried to hold onto its fruit in vain. Like a carpet the apples were spread upon the ground, bruised and battered, unfit to eat.

And the great oak lost many of its branches. Its top was felled and it was no longer the tallest tree for miles around. And the fir, which boasted of its eternal leaves, lost every leaf that night in that terrible storm.

But the strange tree, growing as it did out of the dry ground, grew branches from its stunted trunk that spread far and wide. And the fruit that had been lost when its branches were felled sank deep into the ground and grew up overnight into other smaller trees, all bearing that strange, odd-shaped fruit, the fruit that is red and gold. And the poor birds and beasts and many people gathered to pick its fruit once more, which tasted even better than before.

And in time the strange tree filled the earth and became the greatest of trees – far higher, far more beautiful and more fruitful than all the other trees. But still, it never boasted; it just stood and stood and stood, providing food and shelter and warmth to any that took refuge under its sprawling branches.