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Faith Shining Through Art • by Jill Brown

Jill BrownThings With Wings
We are Things With Wings — a family of mixed-media artists who live in Iowa City, Iowa. My sister Laura, mother Connie, and I (Jill) have been creating and showing our work together for about 10 years. We love to laugh, create, and be silly. It’s a blast to go away for a weekend art show together! Over time our pieces have evolved into a look that is truly unique. We combine paint, paper, and the techniques we’ve developed with our love for words, pattern, and color. But the most important thing about our work is the messages we use. Our work is full of hope, humor, and whimsy and celebrates faith and family. Our goal is to use positive and encouraging messages that not only speak truth into our own lives but others’ as well. There’s nothing better than creating something meaningful and personal and seeing someone else connect with it because it speaks to their own life. It’s a privilege we don’t take lightly and are thankful for every day!

For Ourselves
There are certain pieces that we create because we need to hear that message in our own lives. We need to see it hanging on our wall every day to remind us of who we are: precious creations made by God to be just the way we are. We certainly don’t have it all together. When people look at our work, they sometimes think that we’ve “arrived” at having all of life’s lessons all figured out or that we’re so much fun all the time! Soooo not the case! I mean I’d like to think that we’re fairly fun and have decent senses of humor, but we definitely have not arrived! We are works in progress. Sometimes we create art that projects the place we want to be and are learning to be and are growing toward, but haven’t gotten there yet! We don’t always wake up with the right attitudes. We mess up, make messes, and forget our priorities. Our artwork helps us regain the perspective we can so easily lose. When other people connect with it as well, well that is an awesome moment! It connects us to strangers in miraculous ways and we sometimes find ourselves talking to them like we’ve known them forever. Just knowing you’re not alone in your struggles is powerful. Art has a way of doing that. Or more accurately, faith that shines through art has a way of doing that. Because it’s not really about us and what we’ve created, but about sharing and encouraging and pointing people toward what really matters.

In this way, the act of creating becomes an act of worship to God.

For Others
So even when we think we’re creating something for ourselves, we end up finding out that we’re all not as different as we think. Other people are going through the same kind of stuff and isn’t that a relief to realize we’re not the only ones who don’t have it all together? We all need to be reminded every once in awhile that there is hope. What an awesome thing to be a part of! The best and most humbling part of our job is hearing people’s stories — stories of both the good and bad of life and why a particular message speaks to them. Stories of broken engagements, divorce, illness, low self-esteem, loss, waiting, and depression, but also of hope, celebration, faith, joy, love, overcoming obstacles, births, adoptions and marriages. We know that God uses the arts everywhere — in many different forms — all the time, to bring healing, renewal, encouragement, affirmation, joy and glory to Himself in all kinds of circumstances. And the really awesome thing is that all of those benefits are for both the artist and the receiver! It makes our hearts full with the privilege to be a small part of what our mighty God is doing.

That’s how art saves in our Things With Wings world.

Laura, Connie, and Jill are mixed-media artists who live in Iowa City, Iowa. You can learn more about Things With Wings by visiting their blog at or their Facebook page at They are thrilled to introduce a collection of wall art and decorative home decor with DEMDACO in January 2011. Their line is called “This Thing Called Family” and it centers around the theme of family values, so be looking for them in specialty and gift shops early next year.

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Jill Brown


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