Monday, May 21, 2012

Handmade Things

I was a studio art major for two years of college.  I loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  But in the second semester of that second year, I kinda chickened out -- or as I prefer to think of it, made a more practical choice.  See, the way I saw it, while I may have had some God-given creativity, I never saw myself as having much in the way of talent.

Useful thing, talent... for the artist at least.

It worked out that as I was deciding that being an artist wasn't for me, that cathedrals came into my life while working on a research paper.  French, English, and German Gothic cathedrals to be more specific, and art history became my new love and focus.  And it worked out, really.  I have no idea how I would have been able to pick a studio major.  I want to do everything.  Then I loved that, because I got so much out of seeing other people's ideas and the things in design, printmaking, sculpting, painting, and so on.

Every once in a while, I regret not being able to make things for a living.  I mean, the rare times I still get to walk into a craftsman's or artist's studio, I still get a little weak in the knees.  I absolutely love the creative environment and inspiring potential of it.  I love to see what people are making and what ideas they come up with.  I love things that people can do with their hands, with art, science, and design and making something beautiful, taking that passion that God gave you and fashioning something really well done out of it.

It's why I go to the farmer's market, seek out craft entrepreneurs, look for ideas, and try to learn to make things and do things on my own.

These guys are cool.  They remind me of what I'm talking about.  And they have rad facial hair.

I think it's so great that there seems to be this new movement -- or a revitalized one to less mass market and more handmade.  Don't get me wrong.  One day I would love to be able to make almost all things myself or get them from small business and local makers, but unfortunately I often don't have the money, but mostly the time to do this.  As a single mom of four kids with a full-time job, I'm a regular at the local Super Target.

And there is something to be said for supporting big businesses that you know provide jobs, though it always turns my stomach to think that my ability to buy $4 shirts for my kids reinforces the view that certain large companies have of it being in their interests to short-change their factory employees in other countries.

The war within continues, and I hate that I cannot always afford my principles, but I digress.

Stepping down from soap box now.  Anyway...

I'm trying to instill a little bit of this into my kids.  I mean, they can be whatever they want to be, and only God knows what it is for each of them -- plumber, astronomer, homemaker, teacher, accountant, forest ranger, writer; the list goes on -- but I'd really like to encourage their creativity.

At the moment, they are in the midst of making clothespin people.  I think they really, really like making these, because they're toys, too.  I got inspired by Nicole at Making It Lovely.  And I love how my kids' version of these people look so diverse.

And how this picture looks like the clothespin person version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Anybody else feel like making a monumental object out of mashed potatoes?  Just me?   Mmmkay.

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