Looking Back & Looking Forward

When I first started Paramentics back in October 2012 I had one main goal in mind: Create a series of art for each festival of the church year that focuses on the gospel reading or the theme for that service. Since then, I've made over 600 (!) individual pieces of art. I'm not one to think back on the work that I've done, but I do recognize this as a huge accomplishment that, at times over the past 3 years, I thought would not happen. It certainly wouldn't have happened without the massive support Paramentics has gotten over the years. Thank you.

There's a lot I've learned from running a business like Paramentics—both what to do and what not to do. Customer service emails were something I didn't really prepare myself for, even for a person who has dealt with client emails almost on a daily basis. Wrestling with how transparent I should be with future plans is another. Fixing technical glitches and issues, as well as how to effectively communicate items on the website are yet more things that I've had to learn over the years. Needless to say, there's lots of room for improvement. I'm grateful to have parents who have supported me on this endeavor and whose insights into running a business on my own have been invaluable.

Some of these learning experiences I hope to share on my personal website in the future. It'll also be good to continue writing about my insights and thoughts on the Christian arts. At the very least, I hope to become a better writer in the process. Anyway, here are some plans I have for Paramentics over the coming year.

The 3-Year Lectionary

The 3 year series is almost completed as it currently stands. Only 4 more sets to go for Epiphany this coming church year—even though we won't get to use them until 2019. Once those sets are done I'll package them together by year. A basic summary PDF will be included in the package that lists the numbers, festival names, and Scripture references for each set. I'll also provide this as a free download on the website.

My immediate goal was to produce a 3-year series that follows the lectionary in the Christian Worship hymnal of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. But I also wanted my art to serve many different church bodies. Looking forward, I've planned out how I will organize my art and what art will be added to the current series. In order to better serve other church bodies like The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The United Methodist Church, The Church of England, and others who also use Paramentics, my art will fall closer to the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and its adapted versions. I've been working on an early draft of how this will be structured. 

This means that the art packaged together by year will remain as is when it's done in the next couple weeks. I might eventually label it as the “WELS 3-Year Series” or something along those lines. Individual sets and seasonal collections will change according to the linked document above. You'll notice in that document that most of the changes occur in the last 4-5 weeks of the church year. Some festivals will also have additional art that caters to church bodies who have changed a few of the RCL's readings. When I finish the new sets of art, I will then package those by season and year.

New 3-Year Series

As I am finishing up the current series of art, I will be preparing a new 3-year series that will feature a different style of art. I hope to release these by season starting in Summer 2016. The art will follow the new order as outlined above and will include much more art. The Holy Gospel will still be the main focus, but each set will also include art for the first reading, second reading, and the psalm. I haven't landed on a style yet, but I'm getting close.

More Symbols

Making Christian symbols for Paramentics is one of the most enjoyable things for me to do. I already have over 200 new symbols done that I hope to release over the next few months. The symbols packages will be renamed according to their theme (eg, “Apostles & Evangelists 1”, “Apostles & Evangelists 2”, etc.). This will help make it clear what is contained in each symbol pack.

Minor Festivals & Elements

The lesser festivals celebrated over the church year will be completed in 2016. They will then be packaged together so that they may be purchased as one item. I'll also put together a PDF that summarizes the entire set of these festivals for quick reference.

Elements will change slightly over the course of the year and you may see them temporarily removed for a short time. Each set will be expanded to include even more graphics, and different sets will be made that focus on different elements.

Other Stuff

Besides the items mentioned above, I am also working on certificates for confirmation and baptisms. Some of the details are still being worked out and I'll have more to share on these as their release approaches.

You may have noticed some small changes with the website. These are in preparation for more products and to make the buying experience better. The shopping cart now has a dedicated place in the menu bar and can also be quickly accessed on your phone if you choose to buy things that way.

Thank you so much for supporting me and the work I do here at Paramentics. There's lots of releases that will come in the next few months that I'm very excited about. I'll be writing more and keeping you updated through the monthly newsletter. Any updates on the website will also be posted to Facebook and Twitter.

— Ian Welch

Ian Welch