Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Artful Box

A last minute phone call and I worked today - so I scratched my head thinking of what to do ... it is Artful Thursday after all.... I really must think ahead but my brain is somewhat addled these days...

Now you must know I don't think of myself as an artist - I make things - that's what I do. Artists think up things out of thin air, see a vision and create it.
Sometimes I make things designed by other people, sometimes they are my own designs and sometimes they are a mixture - a hybrid, if you will. I can't recall any that came from thin air... I am alright with that though.

But the real reason I know I am not an artist is because I don't name my creations and I do not sign my work. And for all you quilters out there - No, I do not label my quilts. (Quit sputtering and read on...)

My good friend Carol is an artist, and a darn good one. She is also the person who told me about the importance of choosing a name for your art. I scoffed at the idea - after all I had seen a painting of Monet's titled "Still Life With Haunch of Meat" . I put forth he was famous for his skill, which could obviously stand up to any vocabulary issues he might have. (Another thing you must know is that we have discussed this at great length, over many years. She always comes back to the same thing - "Before you jump around saying "The monkey has no pants, you must be sure the monkey should indeed even be wearing pants." In other words, that particular painting of Monet's was a part of a study series and thus did not require a proper name - but I digress, as she would be the first to point out.)
And doesn't this also hearken to "A rose by any other name..." I know, I know, digressing again...

And so, to the point of the post - several years ago Carol sent me this:

A little treasure box of hand-dyed fabrics, small pieces of silk fusion, fish leather (yes, there is a story there, but it's hers to tell, not mine), threads, and assorted bookmarks and cards made from images of her art. I was so delighted with my "treasure box" that I have kept it intact for all these years, dipping in and using things as needed, but it seemed like keeping them together kept the gift alive.

And now it is my turn. I am reluctantly re-packing the box with treasures I have collected over the past few years; reluctantly because this box has come to symbolize creativity for me and I hate to lose the visual reminder. I have no regrets about what I am putting in it though - 1920s Art Deco ribbon from France, mother of pearl buttons from Paris, silver leather, fossil beads, silk brought back from Thailand by another friend, and most special of all, crystal buttons from Sarah. Sarah knew I have an almost pathological love of buttons - so she gave me a box filled with buttons. I have treasured everyone (yes, I kept that box intact too - perhaps another issue I have?)
Sarah was our friend and fellow quilter and that woman had a way with fabric... she had a knack for combining such disparate fabrics and making them look great - it often puzzled Carol and I how she did it. And in the early days of our quilting, when we made everything from patterns, she would say to us (in her charming English accent) "Well, it is lovely you know, but really, it would be so much better if you did your own thing".

And every time I follow a pattern I think of her words and feel confident enough to add my own twist, or go off in a different direction altogether. Her gift to me.

So now the box is off to Carol in the Yukon again, hopefully to delight, and inspire. I will think of it as The Artful Box. Perhaps in honour of Artful Thursday I will decorate the outside - maybe with roses - because "AirPort Card Adapter" signifies art.

At least to me.

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