Like faith, art often passes from one generation to the next. For Jennifer Coffin, it began when she first laid eyes on her mother’s potter’s wheel. The wife of David Coffin, senior pastor at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Va., Jennifer studied art in college, during which time she took an elective in pottery at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va. After spending two decades crafting her art, she began selling her work while rearing three children. The youngest, Sarah, followed her mother’s passion for art, becoming a potter herself and pursuing a master’s degree in art management from George Mason University.
These days, when Jennifer’s not selling pottery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (Alexandria, Va.) and Sarah’s not writing papers or organizing creative ways for artists to connect with each other, the two enjoy getting together and “bouncing ideas off each other.”
As each woman sees it, art is more than a career; it’s a calling.
“Having come from art school in the 70s, which was a radical time, beauty was not promoted. It was looked down upon,” Jennifer explains. “I think [that by] knowing Scripture and knowing the Lord, appreciating truth, goodness, and beauty in forms of art . . . I feel free to express [beauty] in my art. . . . I love the idea of real things, not plastic things. The material itself was created by God for us to figure out how to use. . . . [I like figuring out how to] bring beauty to the home and to its table. [These are] small ways that promote hospitality.”
“I think we’re each given to something and given gifts. I feel strongly in myself the need to do something with my hands and produce art,” Jennifer adds. “It makes me appreciate the world that God has made and makes me aware of shapes and color around me. So much of what I see every day around me inspires me.”
For Sarah, “The Lord has put Himself around us in so many ways. The ocean, for example — it feels a certain way, it tastes a certain way, and we are created to respond to it in a certain way. The Lord communicates to us in so many more ways than we daily acknowledge. Artists and ‘makers’ are kind of enlivening us to be able to communicate those ways.”