For Saturday, January 9, 2016:
“To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.”
Years ago, I read something along the lines that one can properly call oneself an artist if s/he collects everything – fabrics, deadwood, old or broken furniture, empty picture frames, vintage clothing, and on and on – because of the creative possibilities s/he sees for the various items’ future.
That used to be my house. The more I explored different components of making art, the more I would collect. Glass panels from old windows, birch bark, fallen beetle-etched pine branches, slate tiles, fabric, castoff and unfinished wood furniture were only some of the things that filled my room, studio, and garage. I saved used paper, including empty greeting card and tea bag envelopes, to make paper from scratch. I would ‘marbelize’ the furniture, or plastic plant pots, and old TV trays (among many other things) so they resembled geological marble formations. I sanded and polished the branches to highlight the etched designs, and designed patterns to etch into the glass and tile with a Dremel.
Now, after several moves in the last five years, almost all of that is gone. There’s no space here to store anything, and almost no space to work. It tears at my heart as I remember the joy I experienced when I plunged into all the different possibilities, and I’ve had to train my eye not to look for them as often.
As a result, though, I have returned to my first love: writing. As much as I loved playing with and in all my different collections, it took time and energy away from my writing. Now I collect quotations again, now I can write every day.
Now, instead of making things to have around the house that might be thrown away later, I make books and, I hope, encourage others to do so as well.
My dream is to be able to do both forms of art, visual and word, again someday. Until then I will keep my artist’s eye – and heart – open as best I can. After all, even the smallest possibility could find its way into a story.