A little bit of faith is infused into every piece of pottery created by Chris Thomas.
A self-taught potter from Texarkana has turned her hobby into a small business and is able to incorporate her Catholic faith into her creations. Thomas, who has a certificate from the diocesan spiritual direction program and a bachelor’s degree in theology from St. Gregory University in Shawnee, Okla., prays while she creates.
“Everything I do, I do with prayer,” she said. “I am so blessed that I have a beautiful sun-filled studio that I can choose what goes into it. There is a lot of prayer time.”
The marrying of art and faith has also blessed Thomas with friendship. Her friend formerly of Texarkana, Texas, is also a partner in their latest creations: doorknob blessings.
Thomas and Nina Cork met five years ago at the Women for Art’s Sake ArtsMarket in Texarkana through their love of art. Thomas had a booth selling her pottery while Cork had an art show.
Thomas is known for her pottery bowls, jars and mugs and has even been commissioned to create chalices and patens for Christian churches and the holy water bowls at her parish, St. Edward Church.
Over the years the two together have created “fairy bells” with guardian angel medals attached, prayer jars and different styles of crosses and angels. Their rosary mugs have been one of their most popular creations. One of Chris’ clients requested a mug that would aid her in praying the rosary with her morning cup of coffee. Thomas’ version has a cross formed by 10 vertical beads for the Hail Marys and five horizontal beads for the five decades.
Even though Cork moved to Bay St. Louis, Miss., this summer, the two have been able to keep up their friendship through visits and phone calls. Thomas often texts photos to Cork to get feedback.
“Each fall, we do some type of ceramic project together. Time was just too short this year,” Cork said. “While shopping, we saw a doorknob blessing and quickly decided we could do this.”
The first dozen were created around Cork’s kitchen table over the next few hours while they prayed and talked.
Thomas and Cork want Christians to place their beaded creations on their doorknobs, handles or even rearview mirror to remind them of God’s grace as they enter and exit a space.
Thomas said, “Each time the door opens and closes, the blessing reminds us to ask for God’s protection and presence for our loved ones and our home.”
Thomas appreciates that her creation inspires the senses of sight, touch and hearing to remind Catholics to pray throughout the day.
At the end of one string of beads is a cross and on the other hand are various charms, including a shell (for the Mississippi coast), star (for the Lone Star state where Thomas lives), angel wings and bell, to remind Thomas and Cork of their friendship. Attached to each blessing is a card with a Bible verse.
“It’s just a reminder that God is present,” she said. “I am all about Emmanuel, God is with us.”
The jewelry-quality ones sold by the friends are available online or during craft shows they attend. Thomas also takes special orders by e-mail at .
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