Jenna Bruns developed an interest in needlearts as a child. She began sewing at an early age and then learned embroidery, cross stitch, and crochet. In 1984, she developed an interest in quilting. Her teachers were her grandmothers, both accomplished needlework artists. In 1991, Jenna graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor's degree in accounting and worked as a public and corporate accountant for several years. Then in September of 2002, she was commissioned to design and stitch a thirtieth-anniversary banner for Peace Lutheran in Austin, Texas. An advent stole and paraments for peace soon followed. Encouraged by her family and pastor, Jenna developed Cottonpatch Designs, a Liturgical Arts Studio dedicated to designing and crafting church vestments, paraments, and banners. She now has work in churches all over the world, including in Africa, England, India, Gaza, Israel, Russia, and Canada, as well as throughout the United States. In addition, she has exhibited several pieces at the Cana Gallery and the Religious Art Gallery, both located in Austin, Texas. Jenna currently lives in Round Rock, Texas, with her husband and children.
It has been my experience that God gives us not one, but several gifts. As we journey along the path He has set for us, these gifts are developed until the day we receive that one calling Paul writes about in Ephesians.
We don’t always associate a skill or talent to produce something tangible as a spiritual gift, although if we thought about it, there is an element of spirituality in our every day lives. We don’t always recognize God’s gifts even as He is developing them in us.
When I began quilting thirty years ago, I did not think of it as a gift from God. I learned most of my needlework skills from my grandmothers. It was a skill that had been passed down through generations in our family.
When I graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in accounting, I was thinking about seeking my fortune, not that God was helping me to develop another gift.
Even in raising my kids, God has developed gifts, not the least of which has been patience.
Working with color, design, fabric, and thread allows me to express my faith in a tangible way. The gifts that God has so graciously given me spark a passion to create and a thirst to share that creation with others. God inspires me through Scripture, creation, and the rich symbolism of the Church. My artwork is intended to enhance the beauty of the worship space (being created specifically for that space) and to provide a visual message for the worship experience. Broadly stated, the design elements and colors offer a visual interpretation of God’s love for all of us, although every individual connects with my art in their own way; through their own faith experiences.
I am constantly in awe of God; His timing, His inspiration, His creation, His power, His love. To know that my work adorns sacred spaces is humbling indeed. Using my artistic gifts for His glory is the highest calling I could ever answer.