Not all art hangs in galleries. Some art is not really art at all. Our culture and many societies have lost the art of self-sufficiency. Gone are the days of providing for your self and your family by creation. If we perceive we need something chances are we hop in our car, drive to the nearest shopping mall and purchase that necessary item straight off the shelf. It seems our society has worked itself out of usefulness. I’m not saying we should all ditch our ipads, our fuzzy chenille blankets or even put down our cleverly worded coffee mugs. What could be said though is we have forgotten the artist in ourselves.
I am sure when my grandmother sat down to quilt, she did not think of herself as an artist in that moment, but she was.
I am once again staring at an unfinished project. I sew. I enjoy sewing. I relish the way the sewing machine sounds as it stitches two pieces of fabric together to help make a garment. The feel of the fabrics and their unknown final form intoxicate me. I fantasize about what I will create with different textiles. I have yards and yards of fabric haunting my sewing room, begging for me to take the time to transform the soft velvets into reticules for my costuming, the bright sheers into sarongs for my beach wear, the fun cotton prints into throw pillows for my couches. Yet here I am with minimal time and too many ideas. If I could organize my sewing projects the way I organize our family vacations, I might get some sewing done. I have set the artist in me aside. Why? Is it simply because if I need any of those things I can just go purchase them? My sewing feels indulgent, like a pedicure, something I could do but when the deadlines are encroaching, the family is needing, and a pedicure sounds a lot more relaxing than the sewing project, I choose to relax without thinking. So when can I make more time in my day for my lost art form? That is a question each of us must answer for ourselves.
I love that so many of these lost or dying arts are being revived to the glorious art forms they truly are. I love to hear about various groups that gather simply in the name of their chosen art; sewing, quilting, crocheting, knitting, even chain mailing. I appreciate the candle dippers, the blacksmiths, the potters, the weavers, the leather workers, and so many more artists carrying on their chosen craft. I believe I will call on a friend the next time I feel the need to buy my next scarf, and I will try to find my art form again.