Inkwell is a day for Unbottling Imagination. Why? For Kingdom Anticipation. It’s a fun, funny, and friendly event. But the heart of the thing is serious. As our culture withers in many ways, we aim to be a part of tending the soil, of cultivating again a love of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. It’s a day where kids can be exposed to ideas and instruction, but can also be inspired and given a vision for hope and a kindled imagination.
I think one of the most wonderful things that happens is that the kids get to meet, hear from, and be close to some amazing people. Men and women who are submitted to the lordship of Christ in all of life and who are pursuing creative vocations with excellence. I have often said that I would do the whole thing just for my own kids to have this experience.
The kids were immersed in Storytelling with Andrew Peterson, Illustration with Zach Franzen, Poetry With Rebecca Reynolds, and Songwriting with Randall Goodgame. And there was so much more! Joe Sutphin wowed the kids with his amazing drawings and kindness. We had countless volunteers from the Church at Charlotte, an amazing ally for us in this endeavor.
For me, it’s a bit of a blur. I did speak a few times, to everyone at the opening and closing, and in a session for parents. I also got to help my brother Josiah teach kids a Zulu song and another song about longing for the kingdom of God with Skye Peterson. (That girl can sing!) But my perspective on the conference was as a leader, and so I took a lot of joy from the incredible work our team put in and am overwhelmed by the generosity of our volunteers and partners.
I wanted to do a big, thoughtful post about the day, but this is the best I can do at the moment. It’s from my perspective so lots of pictures of me (sorry!), but it might give you a flavor of the day.
I hope we can keep doing Inkwell every year. It’s a special day. I love being a part of Story Warren.
Here’s some more pictures, most either taken by Tim Briggs, Josiah Smith, or Jessi Smith.
Laura Peterson. So awesome. And the rest of our group captains. James Witmer, Kelly Keller, Kristen Peterson, and Glenn McCarty.
Peterson twins with magic photographic awareness.
I also got to teach the kids at Church at Charlotte on Sunday while Zach painted! The lesson was from Daniel 3. The three Hebrew young men and the fiery furnace. Fun fact: Afterwards, I told Zach that CAC had an art gallery and they would probably be thrilled if he wanted to donate his painting to their gallery. He replied. “Well, I already donated the painting to their dumpster.”
Jon Aman, beginning to put the letters together and form words. Proud of you, Jon!
Joe and Gina Sutphin. Joe is feeling good because of his hair situation.
Zach telling a fish story and relating it to the intriguing reality pointed out by Scandinavian art historian Vilhelm Volfjhelm’s theory that salt makes fish taste salty. Ergo, chaos of the first order and social change in the politics of English soccer hooligans.
AP writing Christian cuss words on his board and refusing to apologize.
This is the Dream (Merch) Team! Will Smith and his Immortals. Jon Aman, Ming Selig, Lynn Holloway, and Will. Lynn’s hair alone brought in hundreds in sales.
The art project for 7 and 8 year olds was amazing.
Rebecca Reynolds is brilliant and fun.
My favorite Inkwell picture. This is a wonderful human being, I’m sure of it.
This is also my favorite. I love this kid (my nephew) and this man (my Randy).
These are the AMAZING art ladies. Eva and Deborah, take a bow!
Randy challenging kids to take over the class “IF YOU CAN” by the ancient right of trial by combat.
Becca deciding the fate of yet another gladiator.
Here’s a picture of many of the staff and volunteers who came early and stayed late.
Thanks to all our team, but I’ll single out Andrew Mackay, my partner, who was a beast. So much behind-the-scenes work and sacrifice. I am “out front,” but that’s not possible unless Andrew is working incredibly hard behind the scenes. Julie Silander’s hospitality and enthusiasm is a pillar of Story Warren. Without her, this conference doesn’t happen and probably Story Warren would not exist either. She’s our ambassador extraordinaire and a key to Inkwell. Carrie Givens was the link between Story Warren (she’s on our staff) and Church at Charlotte (her day job). She coordinated volunteers, endured hardship from my frazzled self, and basically was like the glue putting it all together. Thank you, Carrie! And to Tim Briggs (and Ken, Jimmy, Dave, etc.) and everyone at CAC, thank you. You guys made it so much easier on us and were tremendous partners. We feel really blessed to be connected with you.
I thank God for what he has done at Inkwell.