Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Bluebonnet Conference

We are just back from the 14th annual Texas Baha'i Bluebonnet Conference, (February 18th – 20th), which featured former member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Hooper Dunbar, as the keynote speaker. The theme of the conference this year was “Immortality and the Human Spirit”. Details of the conference are available at, where you can purchase CD/DVDs from previous conferences.
I understand that this year’s conference will be available on CD/DVD for those who were unable to attend, or simply need to review this weighty subject again, so I will not detail the main program, which is outlined at the link above.
As well as the awesome program these events are always an opportunity to meet and socialize with friends old and new.

This was the first time that we publicized the Ruhi Crafts Blog, and we shared a table with Juliet’s Divine Stars. I had been travelling all week and Juliet offered to make the sign for the display. I had intended to produce an graphic, and print it out, but Juliet made this fantastic sign, incorporating crafts, crafting tools and materials, I am sure you will agree it is vastly superior to a simple printout. You will recognize a few crafts from earlier posts on the display board.

We spoke with anyone who would listen about Ruhi and the arts, and I hope have encouraged folks to contribute, or at lease participate in discussion. We handed out cards and hope to see an increase in collaboration in the next few months.
As well as the wonderful talks and the evening’s entertainment, there were a number of vendors many of whom were artists or craftsmen.

We were beside old friends Marie and Dan Caldwell’s, “My Town Papers “ table.
Visit their site at: for a great selection of stickers, innovative photo albums and just a score of great “scrapbooking type” materials for both Bahá’í and general purposes.

Our old friends the Nossas were also there with a table selling Jorge’s beautiful jewelry, which you can find on Etsy.
It was wonderful to spend time with them. Susan had introduced us to the institute process, and the Ruhi Craft blog owes much to Susan’s love and encouragement, as we went through the sequence of courses. Susan commented on the display, that this had grown from the single mind-map I had made during our Book 2 study circle. So it just shows what can come from the nurturing atmosphere of the study circle. Their son Pablo, who was also there with his wife Bita, was the ONLY tutor for our oldest son.
I bought Juliet this lovely ring symbol necklace.

Next to the Nossas was Sabrina Laumer’s display of arts, ranging from paintings, tile magnets, to prayer beads. You can see more of her work at

We had met the wife and husband team, Gigi Alford and Anis Mungapen, who created the book “Hasten Forth”, when we attended the Louisiana Bahá’í School, and it was a pleasure to meet Gigi again at the Bluebonnet Conference.
At first glance this is another pretty coffee table book, but one soon realizes it is much, much more than that. The first clue is the fact that the Forward is written by Mr. Kiser Barnes, but as one progresses through the book the blend of pictures and quotations from the Bahá’í writings tell the story of the Faith and the lives of the central figures.
The idea of the book is to stimulate discussion and interest in the core activities, as an aid to teaching, and a call to action. It’s a superb example of harnessing the creative spirit.

Here is what the creators say:

“All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit,” are the worlds of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. He describes the station of the arts in the youngest of the great world religions. “These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.”
Showing forth God’s praise was the motivation to undertake this project. The creators of the book hope that the pages herein may provide, in their own small way, not merely a narrative, but also meditation; not only a companion for exploring the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, but actually inspire and incite to action.

Well that is it from an action packed Bluebonnet conference, I hope this post has given those who were unable to be there a flavour of the event, and acts as a pleasant reminder for those who were. Also I hope it helps stimulate the artist in you to get involved.
Remember you will be able to buy CD/DVDs of the conference, and if you can, please support the artists.

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