Creation of the Week

Creation of the Week Returns! - Novum Collective

With the revolutionary advancements of the technology, transportation, Internet, social media, etc., collaboration is no longer as difficult as it once was, and yet in the Catholic world it is still often times a source of power left untapped. That’s why I was so pumped when I saw the Novum crew’s newest collaboration, the Novum Collective Christmas Album. It’s not because their site is amazing or because I absolutely love every piece of art on there. I think it’s all great, but the fact that they are teaming up to put their collective energy and effort behind a common cause together, that’s what gets me pumped.

I remember three years ago feeling totally alone and like I was the only one who thought the way I think about creativity in the Church. Now I’m friends with a couple thousand new like minded people, some of whom I feel like I’ve been to war and back with. 40% of our clients at Sherwood Fellows have come from the CC community, 100% of our team members and freelancers have been brought together through the community, I’ve been mentored, I’ve been challenged, I’ve been stretched to my limit and beyond it, and literally everything in my life is better for it.

Sometimes I feel like a crazy person when I tell people that CC is one of the most powerful forces for transformation in the Church today. When I say that, I don’t mean the organization behind Catholic Creatives, because (shhh don’t tell anyone) there isn’t some big organization behind Catholic Creatives. I mean the decentralized network that’s powering crazy things like this wacked out crowdfunding campaign from Novum Co.


Here’s the reality: Most of us musicians, artisans, makers, and artists are really in the beginning stages of our careers and the odds are mostly stacked against us. We have might have 1-5k followers on our social media platforms and we’ve fought hard for each and every one of them. We’re not that connected, and though we’re talented, we don’t have access to the kind of force multiplier following that let Audrey Assad jump ship from her label and go solo. We don’t have big names, there’s not a connected economy for what we do that’s supported like it is in the protestant world, we don’t have a lot of mentors or infrastructures that exist to help us. That’s how I felt 3 years ago, and CC has totally changed that for me. Now I’m getting to see that happening for others as well.

As the Catholic Creatives movement picks up momentum,a great side effect has been a new awareness of other creative communities around the country (and globe).  With this greater connectivity comes greater potential. Will Hickle, Eric Wilkes, and all the other people involved in Novum saw the distributed network of CC and saw it for the force multiplier it is. What was once Novum (just Eric and Will doing their thing) they’ve expanded into a collective of Catholic creatives musicians who are putting out a super sweet Christmas Album together. They are crowdfunding it not simply by preselling the album, but by teaming up with a whole bunch of other Catholic Creative artists to sell unique Christmas gifts.

I asked Will why the move towards collaboration, and he told me that it started with the music:

“in my experience musical collaborations yield amazing results when compared to trying to do it on my own.” YES WILL. PREACH. He talked about how they leaned on each other’s talents and gifts to make the music amazing, but looked to leverage each other’s following by opening it up to one another. By collaborating instead of going it alone, “we build awareness of every artist that’s a part of the project. Every artist gets exposure to every other artists’ following.”

Everyone reading this, be like Will. Will was smart. He saw that his following might not be that big, but if he joined with 12 artists who all also have small followings, those numbers turn into a force to be reckoned with. 12x5,000=60,000. That’s a tide that can raise all ships.

Collaboration is smart, but it’s also what’s best for our souls. Will was really emphatic about that point when I asked him about how this project got rolling. He told me that as a part of the process all the musicians cleared their schedules to go on a writers retreat together. “I personally have never experienced such a wave of inspiration that came from being around so many creative people. Many of us had never been so productive or so excited to write music. Sadly I've observed that many circles of creatives work in isolation - a lot of people work alone because of schedules, location, or lack of community.  This is where CC offers hope, and if you're reading this I encourage you to reach out to someone you've seen on the group that you have thought "I would love to work with them"!

Listen to Will. Find a team. Also, go buy some Christmas gifts on their site and support them. Their crowdfunding ends on Friday, so go show ‘em some love.

By Marcellino D’Ambrosio
Cofounder of Catholic Creatives
Creative Director of Sherwood Fellows

Creation of the Week #34 The Bible Project

A while back my son just sort of yells across the living room without warning or prompting:

"Dad, what does 'messiah' mean? - Kolbe

"Me in my mind: Where do I begin? ... Do I jump to Judaism? That would make sense... do I hand him my Scott Hahn collection? Too early... ]

No... like any good dad with a wifi connection, I turn to YouTube. We then proceed to spend about 45 minutes sitting on the couch together, me and my little 4 year old son watching these videos and talking about what was uncovered. Mostly we talked about what he saw, not so much what he heard in the narraration.

"Is that solider a bad guy or a good guy?"

"Is that guy an angel?"

"Can we go to that castle (the temple) sometime, maybe this summer?"

Kolbe just needed to see it first, and I think part of me did too.

Enter the The Bible Project, Creation of the Week and a Portland based non-profit crowd funded creative studio. It's been great to see the group progress from the early videos to the most recently published ones, and to see the quality constantly increase, and the willingness to try new things pay off with each new graphic venture. Everything they make they give away for free, though if you offer your dollar bills I'm certain they won't turn them down. This creation of the week is really dozens of "creations" that are summarized in this one post. Mostly the following:

  1. Theme videos (holiness, image of God, Kingdom of God, Dozens of others on YouTube)
  2. Podcast
  3. Animated short films (Wisdom, Torah)
  4. Print Materials (A few dozen large format posters)

The work really stands on it's own (see screen captures of the animated films below) and needs little in the way of explaining. It is just top to bottom thoroughly engaging and rooted in the narrative arcs of scripture. It's well worth your time to sit, watch, and then share these videos. 

the garden of eden

the garden of eden

king david

king david

the crucifixion

the crucifixion

some sort of badass soldier... maybe the COTW should have been swords, or zombie horses.

some sort of badass soldier... maybe the COTW should have been swords, or zombie horses.

The videos have been personally helpful to me because there is a significant gap between what my 4 year old can glean from his "kid bibles" and my Ignatius Press "full bible". And if we are being honest, they help kick start us into reading and loosen whatever grip lethargy may have on our hearts and minds. That's what engaging works of art do, they clue us in to something of the clarity of the truth, something that may not be as readily expressible with words, or certainly not in the say way that an image can. With hundreds of instantly made and intuitively felt design decisions layered on top of one another to produce an affect that washes over the viewer,  works of art like these operate on a different level that that of those who deal in words. 

All of these resources mix an exceptionally high level of production quality, with what seem to be a fairly open and approachable theological bent. The printed material is also all free and super high quality. Dig it. Download any and all of the artwork, and if you can support the effort. 


The best part of this CoTW is that it has given me cause to return to these books to be able to enter into these stories anew. I hope it will result in the same for you.


This Creation of the Week is by Christopher Duffel, architect, father, and sharer of wisdom.