Sunday, November 23, 2014

Artist's Sunday #10: Thanksgiving, or "and now, for Something Completely Different."

I'm going to change it up a bit this Sunday, and instead of featuring other artists' works (yes, I know, that was the entire point of Artist's Sunday and all that), I'm going to present a story, and call for you  artists, crafters, writers, and all you other creative people out there to do the same. I'm going to tell you the story that best demonstrates why I continue to create and share my art.

I'm going to tell you the story that shows most perfectly why I am thankful for the talent and skill and opportunity to make art and share it with the world. (See what I did there, I worked in Thanksgiving. Hee hee.)

In truth, the point to Artist's Sunday was, is, and will always be communion between like-minded individuals. Whatever our internal disagreements - over mediums, materials, techniques, pricing, advertising, etc., etc., etc. - we are still artists, still of like mind, still creating beauty to share with the world.

So here's my story:

It was the Stone Mountain Highland Games of... oh, several years ago, back when I was first learning some of my now-favorite techniques and mediums, back when I was still affiliated with the Wild Highlanders, selling my jewelry under their aegis. I had just finished some classes at a local jeweler's, on Precious Metal Clay(PMC) and chainmaille jewelry. The PMC pieces I'd made went on the table next to my beadwork, my purposely primitive ogham pieces and equally (but not as purposely) primitive wirework... and what do you know, the PMC got the most attention that year. Part of the class had been on how to create a PMC box and include gems in the piece. Mine was an (I thought) ugly little abstract trapezoidal thing with three little gems embedded in the random, pointless swirls on its face. 

Someone didn't agree with my assessment of the underestimated little box, however. A woman stopped by the tent, browsed over my now-ex-husband's handmade knives (the Wild Highlanders tend to celebrate the more ancient and primitive Celtic ways over the more modern Bonnie Prince Charlie stuff), and then gave my jewelry a quick, brushing glance. Now, I'd seen this woman stop at several other tents, give their merchandise that same brushing glance, and move on. I noticed she was wearing jewelry from a couple of the other artists at that Games, namely Marc of Kent and the Crafty Celts, and with an idiotic, delusional certainty, I just knew she'd pass by my work, same as I'd watched her do at the other tents. 

I was dead wrong. It took her less than five minutes to decide she wanted that ugly little box. I was thrilled, because her eyes sparkled with a delight that lit up my life. Now, un-remembered to me, this dear lady was the same customer who had, the year before, purchased an antler pendant inscribed with a harp and the ogham for Taliesin the Bard. I told her a little of Taliesin's story, and as things will go, I'd forgotten the incident. If you've ever been a vendor at a craft fair, you know how it goes; so many people stop and chat, some purchase and some don't, but it ends up being hard to remember faces after a while. So, anyway, I told her how excited I was that this particular little piece was going to a good home, and she looked at me in this piercing sort of way, and told me that the Taliesin piece had been a blessing. It took me only moments to put it together - the Taliesin piece had been one of my favorites, after all - and as soon as she saw the recognition in my face, she went on to explain it. She was a harpist (harper?), specifically playing the Celtic lap harp, and she'd fallen out of practice for a few years before purchasing my Taliesin piece - health, life, etc getting in the way. The pendant had been like a talisman for her, inspiring her to get back into playing, and she wore it every time she sat down to practice.  Due to my work, my art, this dear lady had gotten back into doing something she loved, that warmed her heart and blessed her spirit. 

Come to find out, she was the wife of one of the Games commissioners, and her purchase of the ugly little box came just as some inner commission politics were trying to edge the Wild Highlanders out of the Games. She and her husband (who was proudly wearing one of my ex-husband's knives in his sock), argued our case to the Games Commission, and ultimately won.

Not only was my art instrumental for this lovely lady's own artistic life, but it aided in avoiding an unpleasant situation and the loss of the biggest Games the Wild Highlanders attended. And this is why I continue to make my art... because it touches lives, in ways I can never predict, and I can't wait to see how the ripples spread. 

Now, it's your turn! My call out to all you other artists this Sunday, is to dig deep (or maybe not so deep?) and find the story that best displays why you continue to make art in spite of all the mud that life flings in your face.

Live, Love, and Make Art
-your Artful White Fox.

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