Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making Art (and Artifact)

This week our town and surrounds will be filled by an influx of artists and patrons of the arts coming to view, enjoy, and buy art.  I have loved the Central PA Festival of the Arts since its inception more than 40 years ago.  It is inspiring to consider what the mind can conceive and the hand can make.

Last night Jim and I walked to a small gallery on Penn State's campus to take in an intimate art show arranged by our son Matthew's art teacher.  Michelle teaches classes for people of all ages and abilities, but she has cultivated a unique talent for working with people with intellectual disabilities, assisting them to express themselves through painting, collage, mosaic, sculpture, dancing, and even cooking. These weekly sessions are an important part of Matthew's inner life and his outer life within his community.

What is it in the human condition that propels us to make things?  What innate need, compulsion, or desire ignites us to create?  I think about the things I enjoy making...

jars of jam...

a pie...

or the quilted fabric I have been learning to create these past two weeks.

I think for me cooking, sewing, jamming, knitting, and even writing this blog, fills a need to express myself, to indulge in personal enjoyment, to show love and give gifts representing intentional time and thought, to communicate in another way, to record time and place, and even to tell stories through words and artifacts.  One thing that sets us apart from other living creatures is our ability to make tools and things we need (or want).  Being able to create items of beauty beyond functionality perhaps comes from a yearning of the soul and prompting of the spirit.  I think we all have a need to do this, regardless of our abilities and despite our disabilities.  And whether or not the results of your creating sits in a booth on Allen Street, hangs in a gallery on Penn State's campus, or rests on the window sill of your mother's home, making things adorns our lives by stretching the ordinary into the extraordinary; it is one of life's daily blessings.


  1. Yes, wonderful... Your baking, sewing, knitting, jamming, writing, and so much more, wonderful.