Sunday, May 17, 2009

Her Art is Way Better.

(PLEASE, my few subscribers, READ ALL THE WAY DOWN.)

You know, in junior high I could name five girls in each class that had better hair than I did. I rose at 5:30 am to hit the hot rollers and by noon my tresses looked like wet spaghetti. (Somehow, I never learned about hairspray).

Yesterday I finally met (over email) Jane from the U.K., whose work I had seen for months on Ebay and Etsy and had always puzzled over the low prices and amazing fluidity of her gorgeous felt brooches (you can see more of her stuff at I said, "Jane, your work is so precise and perfect and unique." And I have been SOOO jealous!

When I think about my own clumsy fumblings with oozing glue guns and stinky batches of treasures fresh from Goodwill, and then I see some of the incredible work out there on the web, I really question how I can think of myself as a artist at all. But then I think about what my dabblings at the endeavor have given back to me, and I see that the art is not sitting on the table, but is in the beauty it has created in the unseen spaces of my life in the past year.

I think about the day I discovered that my dad had contracted a cruel and horrifying and wasting disease several months ago, and the days that I continue to watch him suffer. I grabbed a crochet hook, a knitting needle, yarn, thread, anything I could put my hands on and just went to work. And stopped using my mind and only used my hands. I guess I'm still doing that, to some extent.

I think about my mother-in-law, Vicky, who has really been more a mom to me, but whom I am always worried about pleasing, because she always has it so together and I have so much respect for her. I see her pick out a flower for a brooch and then grab another one that she likes and I know I am doing this right.
I think about Lee of OneClayBead (on Etsy), an amazing pottery artist who took the time to blog about my reused/repurposed $2 clock from the Salvation Army. Boy, I tell you, being written about by a REAL artist meant I hit the big time! I think I emailed everyone I knew! (Her blog is awesome--great photography--

I think about Tracey from Canada, who had me make a flower for her little girl's coat a few weeks ago. I did not know at the time that she was in the middle of a major family crisis, and emailing back and forth about the flower was at least a bit of a calming distraction for her. (Things are better now, I'm so glad to say).

I think about my long-time friend Sasha, who I lost touch with for silly reasons a year ago, and who now subscribes to this blog. We lunched and reconnected with art as a major subject, as she is a long-time incredible jewelry maker. But more than that, it was a simple bridge over which we reconnected. And I missed her. And needed her. And now we are back to where we were. Did I tell you she was helping me push in the delivery room when my son was born? You don't let that go.

I think about my friend Aki, who is such a talented artist and mother and gentle soul that she's too good at everything and has a hard time pinning one thing down. Oh, to have such problems! Finally, I am in awe of my husband Russell and his patience and generosity in allowing me to follow this road. Our son Pat is watching and learning about art, and I do believe it will follow him well.

Now that I've gone on way too long, I'll just tell you what I'm getting at. The successful art that has appeared in my life is not always the sticky glue stuff, or the frayed stuff, or even the really good stuff that comes together. It is the connections, the friends, the support, and the peace that God has given me on this creative path I began to follow. I needed it, and it found me, and we all found each other. Paint, clay, thread--they're called "mediums" for a reason. Art is what happens in the spaces unseen...we express ourselves, we send out energy, we get energy back.

And we always encounter a little more love along the way.

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