The Spirituality of Craft
From gardening to cooking, acting to playing an instrument, building to writing, painting, and more – there’s a profound connection between creativity and the spirituality of crafting. The act of making, building, and tending to something carries a healing and integrating power to our bodies, minds, and souls.
In this episode, we are thrilled to have Melissa Dowell and Jordan Dowell as our special guests. Melissa, not only the Allender Center’s Product Development Manager but also a talented theater actor, and her husband Jordan Dowell, a graduate of The Seattle School, an exceptional fine furniture maker, and the founder of This Is Urban Made.
Joining Dan and Rachael, this creative couple discusses their creative processes and explores the profound beauty, risk, and fulfillment that can come with engaging in our respective crafts.
Do you have a craft that resonates with you? If not, don’t worry! Tune in to this episode and perhaps this conversation will inspire you to uncover the craft that may be hidden within your own life.
About our Guests:
Melissa Dowell: As the Manager of Product Development of the Allender Center, Melissa Dowell oversees the ideation, vetting, build out, and assessment of new products. Since 2019, she’s loved working in a place where she’s valued not only for the work she does but also for the person she is. Melissa wears many different hats which keeps her job from ever being boring. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre and also has completed iO Chicago (formerly Improv Olympics) improvisation training program as well as the StartUp Institute. Her training and experience in improv comedy show up every day when she has to think on her feet and create new solutions with a team. Melissa also gets to make people laugh at work, which is her most favorite thing.
Melissa is grateful to The Seattle School for moving her to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) when her husband, Jordan, started as a graduate student in our Master of Arts in Theology & Culture (MATC) program in 2015. After growing up in Georgia, and spending her 20s in Chicago, she now calls the PNW home. Outside work, Melissa performs theater and improv all around Seattle! She also enjoys exploring the PNW with her husband, Jordan, (her favorite human), and Walnut (her favorite dog).
Jordan Dowell: In one field or another Jordan Dowell, founder of This is Urban Made, has been building and designing his entire life. Though Jordan is a third-generation woodworker, he didn’t fully embrace the trade until he found himself building furniture for his bride-to-be on a loading dock, late at night in downtown Chicago. He quickly realized a deep passion and talent for the craft. He believes that making furniture affords him the opportunity to think deeply and creatively while exercising a wide range of skills and constantly learning new ones. Jordan and Melissa live in Seattle, WA where, together, they run This Is Urban Made in the Fremont neighborhood, known to the locals as the center of the universe. Find out more at thisisurbanmade.com and jordandowell.com.
Dan: We have a creator God, who has called us to be like him. And part of that is we are called to be creative. To actually have a sense both of wisdom, honor and delight about being able to make excellent chocolate chip cookies. I’m thinking about that particularly because it’s near lunch, but further to be able to make movement, to be able to make a vision of something that didn’t exist. Now it exists in order to reveal not only the creator, but the one who creates in that particular craft. And we’ve got, Rachael, two really crafty people with us, really crafty.
Rachael: Yeah. We are incredibly fortunate today to be joined by Melissa and Jordan Dowell. And I am going to take the opportunity to let you know a little bit about Melissa, and I’ll let Dan introduce Jordan. Although I just want to throw out there that I actually met Jordan first when he was trying to discern whether or not he wanted to come to the Seattle School of Theology of Psychology. But that’s a story for another day. But Melissa is a friend and colleague here at the Allender Center. She is the Manager of Product Development. She’s honestly just incredibly brilliant and creative, even in our work and what could be possible. She’s also an actor, and this is one of the things I love about you, Melissa, that you have this whole other world, and I will let her talk more about this, but she actually just finished a production of Pride and Prejudice where she had the lead role of Ms. Elizabeth Bennett. And it was a unique production of Pride and Prejudice.
Dan: Yeah, I got to be there. I got to be seven rows back. I wanted to be on the front row that I could Google eye. So yeah, it was sooo, I mean, it was one of the sweet gifts of the whole year. I’ve been waiting a long time to watch Melissa perform. So we’re going to talk about the craft of what it means to be an actress, what it means to take on roles in the realm of being able to transmit thought, feeling, character. But I get to introduce Jordan and Jordan to me. I’ll, I’ll just start with a level of grief that we have never been able yet to fly fish together. So that to me is the first designation. You are a fly fisherman. And in that the creativity and the genius is immense. In addition though, Jordan has a degree from the Seattle School. He wisely decided to, in one sense, express the nature of his creativity in the midst of making stunning, stunning furniture. And to be able to say, you’re a craftsman, you’re an artist and you’re a carpenter. And in that, the beauty you create will certainly give people access to be able to look at some of your brilliant productions. But all that to say, you guys are pretty creative, aren’t you?
Jordan: I would say so.
Melissa: I would say so.
Rachael: Own it. Yeah.
Dan: So I dunno if there’s a fundamental question in this other than to say you are one of the most creative couples that we know. How does that play out? Having an early morning coffee when the box of Cheerios has been put back in the pantry but is fairly empty?
Melissa: I like that you said early morning coffee, as if that exists for me, I would say mid-morning, that’s where my creativity lies is: how can I stay in bed before it’s too long?
Dan: I did bring early morning up with some awareness. By the way,
Melissa: I think part of being a creative is knowing when your best hours are and taking advantage of that, utilizing your creativity when you’re at your best, and knowing when you need to refuel and reset, which for me is early morning.
Jordan: Yeah. Being a creative is all about listening to your body. But I think in the situation you painted of making coffee, making breakfast, creativity is an invitation to listen to everything and look for the story in any sort of materiality that we find ourselves interacting with. So certainly the coffee and the story there, listening first to…
Melissa: That does sound like we’re deeply philosophical every morning, and that is very, very rare, right?
Jordan: Yeah. That’ll happen after the first cup of coffee, but yeah. Yeah. But the invitation there.
Melissa: The invitation is there in every cup of coffee.
Dan: So I think one of the things I’m getting at, let’s see if I can put words better to it than I have. Creativity doesn’t start for you all and stop for you all. It’s part of your way of being in the world, which shows in certain particularity on a stage or in your studio working on a piece of furniture. But how did you come to recognize and own that creative impulse?
Melissa: Well, I appreciate this question because you said earlier we’re one of the most creative couples, but it’s hard for me to say that, I or we are more creative than any other couple or person on the planet because we are created and creative beings in this world. I don’t think anyone is more or less creative than anyone else. I think that we’ve had the joy of contemplating our creativity a bit more, especially in the work that Jordan does. And even just finding where theater and acting lives in my world. I pursued, I have a degree in musical theater, and it’s not my career. It’s not what pays my bills. And to come, to go on that journey of deciding that theater wouldn’t be my career, but that it had to be a part of my life for me to survive, for me to be alive and thriving in this world. It was a journey. It was an interesting journey. But I think that’s where, for me, I started to realize, oh, this is vital to my being. And to have that outlet and to explore that outside of what was picked, what was painted for me from a degree program of here’s how you become a career actor, here’s how you go out into the world, depending on which market you want to be a part of and make this your career. And I think we, we’ve said this before, to ask your craft to pay your bills is a lot to ask of your craft. So for me, it doesn’t pay my bills, but it keeps me alive.
Dan: And yet, yeah, Jordan, your craft does pay a good portion of your bills. So, I’d love to hear a bit, how did you come into being a, and is it fair just to use the word a fine furniture maker?
Jordan: Oh, that is a generous label, but I appreciate that. Yeah. I think I came into this craft in somewhat of a back door in that I went to Bible school and seminary and worked for a number of years in the church and then became a furniture maker. And what I tell people that I’m reverse engineering the Jesus career. I did the ministry up front and then I…
Rachael: Love it. The Benjamin Button. The Benjamin Button Ministry.
Jordan: Benjamin Button. Yes. And now I like to add that since I’ve crossed into the 34 year threshold, I know that this is a good path.
Dan: Well, put words to how that occurred.
Jordan: Yeah. Well, Melissa and I were engaged to be married. We were living in Chicago, well, I grew up around woodworking. So my dad built houses, builds houses. His dad built houses. And so I grew up around carpentry. And my dad in particular is a finished carpenter, so more fine carpentry, sort of the furniture, finishing aspects of a house. And when Melissa and I were engaged as engaged couples do, we went out to Crate and Barrel and we started looking at furniture. And then we looked at the prices and we thought, this is never going to work. Buying the furniture on our ministry salaries at the time. And I also had this stirring sense that I could, however arrogant or misplaced it was, I just thought, I can make this stuff, I can do this. I can call my dad and ask for some used tools. And so quite literally, I did that. I drove from Chicago to Michigan and picked up some basic tools and then started designing furniture. And then the church that we worked at was in the downtown area of Chicago, was in the loop, and it had this great loading dock in the back. And I would set up after Wednesday night youth groups, and I would make furniture. And just something really started to come alive. And as I really, once again, because as a kid I made all sorts of stuff. And then now as a young adult anticipating being married, making a home with Melissa, I was again making the home things that would adorn this home and make this home possible. And I really felt myself come alive in a deep way that I hadn’t known. And then from there, I started putting pictures online of furniture and sold a couple pieces here and there. And I thought, well, I will lean into this even more. So nearly nine years later, this is what I’m doing.
Rachael: Well, I’m just thinking about, I guess where I find myself thinking as, what would you say differentiates, because there’s a certain discipline and intentionality and stewardship of creativity and gifting in both of what you do. Melissa, you’re saying, I have a musical theater degree. What are some of the ways you’ve shaped, you’ve continued to shape your craft and I, but then I’m also thinking about what’s the difference? How would we talk about the difference between say, a hobby and ways we kind of live into our creativity and a hobby versus something that really becomes a craft? And how would you think about that in your own life?
Melissa: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think there’s a lot of, as people picture crafts, and there was definitely a movement, especially in 2020 during the pandemic, when we were all trapped in our homes, the idea of hobbies and crafts just exploded. Cause people needed something to do. And I don’t necessarily differentiate between the two that much. I don’t think it really, something becomes a craft when you actually take the time and space to consider what it takes to do the thing that you’re doing. So making dinner can be a chore, but making dinner can be a craft. And it’s really in the way that you pause and take a look around at the materials, at what, what’s before you, that it starts to shift and it starts to change. So I think of craft as just, where do you, I mean, there’s definitely hobbies and crafts that I’ve explored that I’ve tried out. I’m sure there’s always, didn’t everybody try to do sourdough bread? Oh, yeah.
Rachael: Oh, I could never get a starter. Actually. I tried so hard!
Melissa: Me either! For us, we’re like, this is probably not going to become a craft for us unless we really wanted to invest and spend the time and energy into it. But for other people, well, I mean, well done. So I think if I were to differentiate, I think you can try out a hobby. And I think when it becomes a part of you and you connect to it in some way with your soul, that’s where you tap into like, oh, this is a craft. This is an extension of myself. And maybe in a way that a part of myself I haven’t experienced before, or it’s a part of myself that I don’t get to spend a lot of time with because of life calling you to lots of different calling for your attention in lots of different ways. I think you step into craft when you start to step into your own soul and get to participate with the material, with the ingredients, with the tomato that you’re using for your dinner, it shifts. It’s a mindset shift.
Jordan: Yeah. And I will often tell people that because I make furniture for most of my day, and I make furniture to pay my bills, I actually find myself needing other crafts as sort of a ritual aspect. Because really, to me, it seems like we’re talking about the way that craft shapes us. Ritually. And so for me, cooking is often that cooking brings me to my senses in a different way than I might be operating as I’m filling an order for a customer, or, yeah, it brings me to interact with my own body, but also the embodiedness of the ingredients or gardening. I mean, just a couple days ago, it finally got sunny here in the northwest. And so we’re planting things and there’s just something about allowing that craft to bring you into the world in a different way, in a more soulful way. I find myself thinking, saying that craft brings you into the world body first. And that’s so different from how we enter much of our work lives, our day-to-day lives. We enter head first, but craft brings you in body first and then allows you to cultivate this relationship of reciprocity with the material world.
Rachael: Well, I love that. What’s making me think about is I would say, cause I’ve been thinking, do I have a craft? I definitely have. I would say homiletics is a craft, the art of preaching. That’s one of my crafts. And the only other one I can think of that’s a true craft is, I wouldn’t say gardening because most of it’s in, it’s maybe gardening with potted plants and indoor plants. But I remember the moment. I mean, I think what you guys are talking about, Melissa, your words of something you didn’t even realize you needed in order to, it has to be a part of your life. And Jordan, your words of this engagement with the material world in a way that helps you move body. First, I got my first, I would have said in 2015, I got my first plant, and I would’ve told you, I don’t have a green thumb. I can’t keep a thing alive. And I got my first plant when I had foot surgery. And I was also in, I was healing from a lot of trauma too at the time, from an assault, intentionally going to therapy, which I kind of had to do after my foot surgery. And I got my first plant, and I had three or four plants for a good six months. And I killed three of the four plants in the first six months because I didn’t realize that plants had different types of soil. They needed different types of sunlight, different levels of water like that. They each had different needs and varied needs. And I remember I kept one plant alive. And the way in which it just brought me, it was teaching me about healing and tending to the small and paying attention. And it just brought me so much life. And then when I got married, I had over 70 plants, and I only got to take one third of them across the, we only had space in our tiny U-Haul for one third of them. So I ended up having to gift a lot of friends who I trusted to take care of my plant babies. We have one. Yeah, you do have one. We have one of your plants. Yes, you do have one.
Jordan: And it’s doing well!
Rachael: I think I’m, yeah, Dan, I didn’t mean to cut you off, so I’ll make space. I’m just thinking about that connection between the creativity, the spirituality of craft, of making something, of building something, of tending to something has a real healing, integrating aspect to it. It does. That sense you just said, of mutually giving back and shaping you. I would’ve never thought of myself as a plant lady, but the ways in which I will always have to have something green. I live in a concrete jungle, but I have green all over my house on every outdoor space is covered with green. And that has been deeply healing and restorative to me. And I didn’t know that about myself till I was 35 years old.
Jordan: Wow. And Rachael, you paint such a beautiful picture kind of coming off of what Melissa talked about in the pandemic. We all took on new crafts, started a sourdough starter. And a lot of people use this phrase, it gave them a sense of control because everything was out of control. But I think that crafts and crafts, like what you’re talking about and keeping plants tending to a sourdough starter, it actually teaches us a manner of surrender and reciprocity, a different way to think about our own power in the world. Something much different than just control. Yeah.
Dan: Yeah. Well, with that, I’d love to know how you approach a piece of wood or how you approach a part of a dialogue of a character.
Melissa: Want me to go first? Ok. Well, I’ve this, and when I was deciding to go to school for musical theater, it certainly was coming from a place of I love performing. I love attention. I love to make people laugh, but I didn’t know why. It just was something I enjoyed. I was good at it. I liked it. Why spend your time doing something you dislike if you could spend your time doing something you love? So that was kind of like what sent me into the theater space and from there into the improv comedy space. But what was really interesting about this was my second post-pandemic play. This was Pride and Prejudice. This was Elizabeth Bennett, who is truly one of my all-time favorite characters. Someone I never expected to be cast as. I have historically played very wacky characters, all borderline inhuman caricatures of humans. If you were to look at my acting resume, there would be a lot of very silly people on it. And this was a very funny, comedic, farcical version of pride and prejudice. But I wasn’t playing one of the wacky characters. There were definitely wacky characters in the show, and I wasn’t playing one of them. And this was a very new experience for me, and one that highlighted things that I knew about theater and what theater can offer, but hadn’t really lived into it or experienced it myself, which is that theater is storytelling. It’s telling a story, it’s inviting an audience to a shared experience, and hopefully a cathartic experience. So all good theater, the hope is to lead the audience to a moment of catharsis in some way, whether it’s laughing at the absurd, being grateful that that tragedy is not yours, bringing you to a sense of gratitude or seeing your own story played out in a way that maybe you hadn’t before. The use of characters, through the use of brilliant staging and lighting and music and all the elements that come together to put on a performance of production. So this, I mean pride and prejudice is a love story. I am so grateful to have experienced my own love story, but also currently experiencing it. And to play this character who is going through that again, of uncertainty with the world that they’re brought up in the society that is requiring certain things of them to navigate that as this character, it calls you to a sense of empathy that is of the creator, to understand this character’s backstory, to create a backstory for a character. If there’s not one provided in the script, why would she say no to this proposal that would ensure her future, that would ensure her stability and safety for the rest of her life? It requires a curiosity for another person. I’ll say it’s a character’s story that invites me to be more curious of the people around me. Story. It’s a deeply, it’s a practice and empathy. It’s a practice and curiosity. I love that. And it also allows me to play emotions that maybe I don’t let myself feel on a regular basis in my real life, not the love part. I do feel that all the time. But yeah, I remember after one of our performances of pride and prejudice, there were some older women that came up to us after the show, and obviously they were not alive during the 1810’s when this show takes place. But they said to us, it was so wonderful to see this production on stage because when we were growing up, the things we were allowed to do and not allowed to do the way that we were, even the rights or the rules that we had in our society in the 1940s, fifties, sixties, they could see their own story playing out, and they actually got to watch a woman take control of her future in a way that maybe they weren’t allowed to, and it was cathartic for them. So that was meaningful for me. It was, it’s such a gift to share a story with an audience, such a gift to be able to invite people in. One of the things we said about this show too, is that we wanted it to be beautiful and fun and funny, because if you’re going to leave your house, if you’re going to spend your money, if you’re going to go see something, it should feel good. Let’s make it feel, we need more moments of feeling good in this world. And so it was really delightful to get to bring that to the stage.
Dan: Well, the intersection between exposure of structure, systems, misogyny, and a wretched marriage that she’s engaging with regard to her family. Again, not to take us too far into pride and prejudice, but in some ways to create the interplay between humor and heartache and to expose it’s genius. And I’ll just say, you’re playing, that character was so lovely and so compelling. So Jordan, how do you approach a piece of wood?
Jordan: Yeah, I mean, I resonate with so much of what you are saying, Melissa, that my practice too becomes an invitation to step into empathy. To my craft is a study of empathy and how the tree that gave up its life for the material that I’m using, how the story of that tree came to be. There’s an invitation in all of our crafts to attend to just the story nature of the world. And then to think about how it all comes to belong in, I think a lot about belonging and home as I create products for the home, I create. And one of the main products that I make is actually a really beautiful doghouse. So it’s also, there’s something about more than the human world that I’m making home for. And so there’s delight and play there, but really, I think I approach my craft as a way that I find my own belonging and participate with the belonging of the material. There’s something, and that the poets say this much better of entering the world as a conversational sort of reality. That everything is speaking to you, everything is speaking to you. And whether it’s the tomato or it’s coffee there or wood or an opportunity to be on stage, there is an opportunity to move through the world conversationally, to participate in the belonging of everything. And I’m grateful that I get to do that with wood, with beautiful material.
Dan: Well, it, there’s an intersection here between you are a creator, but also you’re a servant and you serve the role creatively. But to do that, what I’m hearing at least is, and you said it so well, Jordan, a surrender, a submission, a giving into what is true about the piece of wood or the dialogue in a play. And that intersection between, you’re not in control, but you are creating. And yet simultaneously, you’re also surrendering to what your sense of the other script, actress, actresses wood, product is calling forth. Is that, am I in a frame?
Jordan: Yeah. I mean all of our crafts exist in some sort of paradox where we are, in my case, I’m using material, or if we are cooking, we are taking a vegetable or a piece of meat. And that has come from an animal that has had a life outside of where we are taking it in the kitchen. And so there’s a taking and a giving. And I think, I mean, craft just brings you body first in a very visceral way to that relationship. Yeah. That in a way that if we are just consuming our way through life, we miss that relationship.
Rachael: Well, where I went just thinking about how cooking ain’t never going to be a craft for me because I just look at your words, Melissa, it’s a mindset shift. I was like, Nope. Nope. Not with cooking. It’s just not, I’m not, it doesn’t come intuitively to me. It’s where I’m not a good Italian woman. I Don’t. I’m sure there’s trauma stories here. I know there, I mean, I’m sure there’s a reason, but just, but I love consuming food. So I was more thinking about, well, my husband, I would say, has a craft of cooking, and I love watching him do exactly what you’re saying, ponder the ingredients, and there’s an art to it and a creativity to it. And I’m like, give me a recipe. I can follow it. I will practice a thousand times to make this one thing that I know how to make without having to think about it. But that took me a good seven years to figure out how to make that one thing that I don’t have to think about. But if you’re like, what would you do if you didn’t have those ingredients? I have no idea. So it just had me thinking about, but because I am in the presence of someone who’s bringing their craft to me, then I’m invited to encounter food differently than just consuming it. And so it was making me think about how our crafts, though so often are done in some ways, not in complete isolation. They’re often done in community. But there’s also something about bringing our craft to the world that it invites people into an experience that it may not be their primary way of being creative, but there’s something that they get to be invited into a different experience too, that it disrupts some of that consumption too. So I was feeling grateful I don’t have to be a cook, and I still get to enjoy the craft of incredible cooking.
Dan: It does pose the question. We can go back to this difference between craft and hobby. In one sense, what I’m hearing so far is that for the two of you, craft is not just connected to your soul, which it is, and to a level of relationship it is, and to a larger, but also a focused story, which again, those are really amazing categories. Well, already, I don’t think that’s true for those who have hobbies, but there is, if I can put it this way, a submission to the craft to in some sense, bear the danger of failing to actually, not primarily control, but in one sense, submit to a process in getting better is an acknowledgement that there is much growth yet to be gained, which is that, again, tension of, it’s a big risk to get on stage. I can’t help but think it’s a huge risk to begin to create a new product that you’re going to try out and see how it goes the first, second, 50th times. So how do you both look at the issue of danger in the context of your craft?
Melissa: Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, for me, the danger is it’s what is the most fun for me, it’s live theater especially, and I mentioned improv comedy. I mean, improv comedy. You’re going on stage with nothing, no script. You’re going off with no script, no, no pre-established character. Nothing, only the only thing you have, unless you’re doing a one person show, the only thing you have is the relationship to the other people on stage. And it requires immense trust, and it takes practice there. I mean, there’s no denying, like a craft is honed is something to be honed through work and practice and learning and curiosity. And I’ve done some bad shows. I’ve done some bad improv shows. I’ve done some terrible things have happened on the stage some terrible things.
Jordan: And yet you go back up.
Melissa: But when it worked, when it works, I mean, it’s the four plants, three of them died, one of them lived, and that one that lived is everything, the one, the moment that you and your scene partner just are clicked in together and you create something from nothing together on stage, it, it’s dangerous. But I mean, it’s the thrill, Dan. You ride motorcycles. I mean, you’re talk about danger. It’s where the life, it’s that, that fine line between life and death, that makes it sweet.
Dan: But to distinguish, I’m willing to take the danger of dying on the road, but this conversation, which should have been there in my body and thought well before, but I’m like, when Rachael said, what’s my craft? And I’m going, if you could see the painting behind her, it’s a glorious bouquet of flowers. And indeed, I had the privilege of being in your place in Seattle, and it was a forest. So yeah, that makes sense. But I would is when you ask that, I’m going, oh, so what’s my craft. And the first word was, oh, I write. And I’m like, yeah, it’s a craft, but it’s not really it. If I were to say the few strokes of the keyboard where I’ve begun to play with fiction, now I can feel my stomach turn. I can feel the danger, the idea of getting on the bike and riding. Yeah, I’m aware.
Jordan: I think sometimes these conversations can sort of border on the line where we’re trying to create a barometer of what is craft what, what isn’t. And I don’t think if it can be done, it’s not my calling to do so. But I like what you said, Melissa, that it craft, it pulls you to the life to the, and there’s something in the life always feels dangerous when you really get up and see it. Yeah. So there’s an aspect of the danger. The danger is why we do it, because that possibility of failure really means you’re walking close to that edge of life and death. There’s a craft brings you to a frontier every time. Whether you start a meal or you start a production, or you start a piece of furniture, you’re on a frontier or you are going to get to witness something come to life.
Dan: Yeah, it, it’s the risk. The risk isn’t just like I watched over 46 years, my wife create staggering beauty in her cross stitch. And initially she used patterns, but after three or four, she stopped. She started creating, the risk of taking time, energy to begin a process of outlining it and then seeing how it plays out from an outline on a piece of paper into the realm. So I think is this element of there is risk and danger, there is submission, there is this capacity to be shaped by your craft like you are doing your craft, but your craft is actually shaping you. So before we end, I would love for you to put words to how has it shaped you in your spirituality?
Jordan: Yeah. I think this brings me to a conversation, a thought about the Lord’s Supper. And I think it has shaped me to realize, I do believe the story of God is one that invites us to be participants as creatives, as craftspeople in this world. And I think for me, it radically shaped the way I see that ritual of the Lord’s supper. That these items are brought to a table that are not just these static items. They are bread, that is involved in an entire community of people, certainly in an ancient setting, entire community of people, of migrating farm workers who tended to fields, who picked ripe grapes. And then within wine, there’s this, all of society from people and in poverty to wealthy landowners are sort of all brought together in this meal. And this meal is so laborious to make. It takes so many people to take wine, to make wine, and somehow all of that matters in God’s program, in God’s table. And so to be able to then take that experience, that ritual experience and realize it really matters. The way I go about making the world and making the world is so much more than just making furniture. It is making dinner. It is the life we create together, Melissa and I. It’s the life we create as a community. But it all matters so deeply.
Melissa: Yeah. I think the way it has shaped, certainly shaped me is in diving into a character that is different than myself. Prior to pride and prejudice, I was in a show where I played that a character was described as a homicidal maniac. Quite literally a murderer, a mass murderer. In this play, it was a comedy, murder, mystery bars thing. But to bring a level of what makes a person resort to this, what was this person’s childhood mean? None of this was in the script, but it was the only way that I could play this character with any level of humanity is to try to understand what they had lived through and why they would resort to that. Because I had to love this person. And embody this person to look at any characters, things you like about them and things you don’t like about them, but to understand why they are the way that they are. Then invites me, Melissa, to consider the world around me and the people around me. The person that ticks me off for whatever reason, to consider with more empathy. What has this person going through? What has this person gone through in their childhood? What has this gone person gone through in the last 20 minutes that would have them cut me off rudely in the parking lot? I mean, even something small like that. But it changes the way that I can consider the other, consider my neighbor, and to then ultimately love my neighbor.
Dan: Thank you both. Thank you. But before we end, let’s just say you two have created something new that will be more apparent on the earth.
Melissa: It’s true. Yes. Yes. We got participate in human re-creation.
Dan: Yeah. Well, it requires some degree of recreation to recreate and so true. Have a new,
Melissa: We don’t have to get into that craft.
Dan: We’ll leave that for the moment. But so excited for how the two of you will further live out your sense of calling vocation and avocation through the process of this new being about to arrive. So before we end, let me just say that even if you’re not particularly in the need for furniture, you, you’re going to just absolutely love to take in. It’s almost like going through a beautiful museum, but check out, This Is Urban Made. You can spell that out. I don’t need to do it. thisisurbanmade.com. And to see some of Jordan’s work as well as JordanDowell.com, we can put all that stuff somewhere. But I just want people to know that there’s beauty and your lives. Both of you have offered us such a taste of how craft grows beauty, not only in what’s produced, but in the character of the one who listens well. So thank you.
Jordan: Yeah, thank you.
Rachael: Thank you.