a journal of...

A journal among friends...
art, words, home, people and places

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Art at Home

The other day, at our first November Holiday with Friends show, someone asked what my next post on this blog would be about.  Asking that is like asking what I'm going to have for dinner Tuesday after next.  When I told her, "I don't know yet," she persisted, "Well, what about this show?  How can you not write about that?  It's so great!"  Nicely, I responded, "Probably I will, then.  Thanks!"

The show has been great, true.  But it's always hard to imagine what words will come out when I open this laptop and begin to write you all.  It just happens.  Like keeping a journal, planned often morphs into spontaneous; anymore, I count on that to happen.

This morning, it turns out I am thinking show, after all, though a few other notions float in on its tails. At the moment I'm surrounded by the displays, still in place and waiting their turn for our second show this Saturday.  Cathy and I decided it would be silly to take it down, only having to repeat the work of installing it in six more days.  I'm glad we did.  I like it here.  Even on the walls on which I replaced a much loved piece of my own to hang newer work, I like the freshness.  It's good for the spirit.

To exhibit some hangings, for instance, I took down a watercolor for the first time since I moved it here from Washington, where likewise it had hung unchallenged since the day it was framed 16 years ago.

Death and its dominion
Simple as the painted drawing is, I know what it means to me: an unwitting harbinger of grief and stalwart defender against the pain of loss.  But now in its place are hung three small flighty things with whimsical inflections, catching the light and moving gently whenever anyone walks by.  I can't think of anything more opposite than these to that other.

Yet here are the latest definitions of my life, lighter, airier.  On the table next to them are a few books I've made and liked; I'm not sure I want them to fly off either, but I show them so at least people can see what I spend my studio time dreaming into being.

And then there are the cards, which I most happily send off out into the world, on my own or through others, small idiosyncrasies of the imagination.  You've all seen those before, but never the same ones, of course.  (I have to remind people:  there is only one of each; each one is only itself.)

Meanwhile, glittering in the front room are Cathy's jewel and metal creations, lifting the show (and house) up a level of elegance.  She's just finished this piece for a friend of ours...dazzling!

Necklace, Cathy Burnham
Truthfully, the best thing about our open studios is how many friends come to share our work and inspire us further.  How much of our handwork finds its way into their hands and homes.  How nice and friendly all this art around me feels now, including the ghosts of those missing (but not lost) and these others, permanently or temporarily in residence.

Anne Harmon writes to show me where she's hung my Counting the Days.  Just like all the art in Anne and Bill's home, it finds the perfect place:  in the corner of the dining room, my favorite room.  Meanwhile, Anne's Fish, from her September-October show at the Sertoma, is tucked into my guest room, with other fish by friends Debbie Cox and Libby Behr.

Fish, Anne Harmon
Jake's catch, Libby Behr
What happens when art finds a home, especially among friends?

Yesterday I took a ride with Tricia to Wilmington where we joined a yoga class at Pineapple Studios.  It's a sweet, quiet place to practice, especially under the calm guidance of my niece Deanna, who'd driven from Asheville at her friend Jess Reedy's invitation to teach a couple of sessions.  Deanna is an artist, too, in textiles and photography.  A few of Deanna's fellow art school graduates, Jess, Lauren Rogers and Stephanie Washburn among them, now live and work in Wilmington and have made a place for their art in a small, but important space.  Pottery and yoga together?  Why not?  Both are contemplative, genial tasks, both soul-satisfying.  We build a body, we build a piece of art, holding with hands that seek to nurture and expand our senses of being.  And we offer it to others from a place both physical and spiritual that we call home.

Deanna, Jess, Lauren, Steph
I love that these young women are taking that to heart and making it their lives.  Some of us wait a lifetime to figure out that what inspires us to hand can inspire others.

Bowl, Lauren Rogers
Small cup, Jess Reedy
If we dig under that thought a bit, we can appreciate that the values they espouse include not so much the grandness or grandeur of art (and certainly not the grandiose gesture) but beauty and peace and health and usefulness.  It's important to them to share those gifts with those around them.  If art is born in genuine pleasure and wide-open thought, winging its way into the world friend by friend, it makes its home by being at home where its grace and inspiration is shared.  Knowing that art comes from or goes to a friend...young and old(er), we like it that way.

After our yoga morning, we dropped in on friends Pam and Paul Bencke, who, it happens, also does wonderful pottery...his terrific glazes and shapes line the wall of their den.   Generously, they let us choose some to keep.

Vessels, Paul Bencke
Welcome home, I say to each peace.  It's like having friends themselves surrounding me.

[I almost corrected that last word in the penultimate sentence.  Then I thought, nope:  that's the word.]

1 comment:

  1. I SO enjoyed the November 16th blog...your words: "We build a body, we build a piece of art, holding with hands that seek to nurture and expand our senses of being. And we offer it to others from a place both physical and spiritual that we call home." remind me of grandmothers, Mom, Aunts, and maybe a little myself when we bake/cook and create our form of what I might call art (in the case of their artwork - it didn't last long!) but the elements you list in the creation and artist are the same :)
    Thanks for touching me with your gift of words! xo e