I’ve been enjoying this blog for the past few weeks: Ben Hewitt. Ben is a writer and he and his family are homesteaders and homeschoolers. I’m having chicken envy !
In one of Ben’s recent posts he talks about how his kids passions are totally self motivated and how he and his wife believe in “presence not praise“. He’s an eloquent writer; it’s well worth the read.
I’d like to throw in another possibility in addition to presence : collaboration. When we are making connections with our children ( or anyone ) by finding and sharing areas of common interest then our presence can become even more meaningful. There is no need for one person to direct or be the authority. Everyone’s presence is truly valued. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into the habit where we’re all inhabiting our own little circles. Find something where you and your child’s passions can overlap – then you’ve created a third space !
Yesterday was Art Play Day, and Andrea agreed to be my guinea pig for timing my workshop project. She only ended up having about 1 1/2 hours for felting, which left her bowl unfinished. I have 2 1/2 hours for the workshop, so I think I should be able to get the participants through making a plain bowl. I really wanted to do something a little more interesting, but my second idea that I worked on while Andrea was here took me about 3 hours to complete. I really like the look, but all the holes require extra attention to felt the edges properly. Oh for a longer day of felting …
My favourite green.
Works for Halloween too !
My 14 year old has been doing all my photos for the art work on the blog so far. Big thanks ! He’s also been off taking lots of pictures of his own. Some of my favourites …
Love the colours in these two,
and the captured motion of the water in these.
I’m presenting a felting workshop for WomynSpirit Festival soon, so I thought I should probably do a sample and time it. This idea will have to be simplified as the handles took up too much time. I have to remember that it always takes longer to do a piece in a class setting. Tomorrow for Art Play Days, I’ll experiment on Andrea and see if she can finish in the required time. I love the creative energy of working in groups !
Trying to grow more time for my art is one of the motivations for this blog. That might seem counter intuitive at first; I’m wasting time writing this instead of doing art! But, I’ve always worked better when there is a bit of pressure, not too much mind you, but a bit of external commitment can get me going.
Where are all the great collaborative art projects then ? They are percolating through my brain, but around here everything takes time and must compete for its spot in the lineup. Three homeschooled children are usually priority number one, and then there is the garden; the fall compost heap that is supposed to be hot and cooking, is just sitting there mocking me. Remedial action will have to be taken this weekend. Then there is food, and endless dishes to do, and an attempt at keeping a handle on the mess. Excuses, excuses !! However, we strive for balance, and while I’m trying to give art more weight, I don’t want to throw other things off. Hopefully, I’ll have something to share soon.
I’ll end with this this poem by a favourite author. While it appeals to my romantic idea of an artist, I’m not sure it’s the path to quiet splendor that I’m looking for.
Advice to Myself by Louise Erdrich
Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.
Since this is the first post in Art Play Days, let me explain. A dear friend and I try to get together once a week and explore different little art projects. Something that we’d like to try, or that we see (usually while floating around the internet). Earlier this week I ended up on the TanglePatterns web site. I never seem to remember how I get to many of the places on the web I visit, but my time is usually fruitful. These doodle like patterns with a fancy name seemed like a perfect project for an artsy afternoon.
Doing art with a friend is a great way to stay motivated, inspired, and happy. We had company today, with my two youngest children and two of their friends joining in the fun.
I might have to do another one.
When he tried to describe it afterward Digory always said, “ It was a rich place: as rich as plumcake .”
– The Magician’s Nephew – C.S Lewis
The day I was casting around for names for this blog, I was reading the first book in the Narnia series , The Magician’s Nephew, to my youngest. It struck me that “The Wood Between the Worlds” was, in a way, like the internet. Not a place where things happen, as Digory tells it; the trees just go on growing. Nothing real happens on the internet, just ideas that keep on growing. And it is a rich place indeed ! I had found a name.
I’m hoping Art Between the Worlds will be a place your yellow ring will take you, and from there you’ll be pulled with your green ring to all kinds of worlds of art. If you don’t get the ring reference, you’ll just have to read the book !
As for the tag line, I do believe art is everywhere. Now, I might be in hot water with purists for saying that, but I think anything approached with an artistic sensibility can be art. What then is an artistic sensibility ? For me, a sense of childlike wonder at the possibilities to create; express beauty or form; to interpret the world. Mostly though, I think you know it when you see it. Which leaves plenty of room for everyone to see different things as art.
We all have a creative spark within, it just needs some cultivation. Of course, there will always be masters, and those with more talent, ability, drive, or accomplishment. There’s me on the piano, and then there’s Mozart. But, to create and produce with our own hands, not to just be a consumer, is something we can all strive for.
It has become clear to me that the function of art is not only for beauty making, but for soul making. For every creative effort we make, we work a little bit upon ourselves, shaping the raw material of our beingness into something unique and staggeringly beautiful.