21 November, 2006

Seeing the Art in Everyday Life

It is kind of sad when you realize that you have missed seeing Art right in front of you.

I think that people get so busy in the busy busy business of life, that we sometimes don't see the natural beauty of an object or the potential forms that an object could possess.

We don't always see the Art in what we do: cooking, creating, loving ... but we have all have Art inside of us... I truly believe that.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Georgia and visited my great-aunt (who is the last remaining member of my family of that generation). She is in her 90's... i don't know exactly... it's kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" thing she has. (Once when someone asked her how old she was, she stated in a very prim and proper way, "Well, I AM 95 pounds!")

She is very fascinating... like I said, she is in her 90's and she still works an organic garden in her back yard ... I have never seen her wear pants... but she wears a size 4 Mr. Rogers-type tennis shoe. She is a veteran of WWII... she was a registered dietician in the Army... She lived in New York for 5 years before she joined the Army... She once won a dance contest at the Rainbow Room with a man she didn't even know! (They won a bottle of champagne!) ... She wanted to be a scientist when she was younger! ... She hand-collected volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helen ... She makes the best melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies... She makes Special K cookies... Her house is filled with STACKS of books, magazines, newspapers, banks, knick knacks, artifacts, etc... it's the most wonderful house in the world...

but, I digress... I admire her...most importantly, she sees Art everywhere...

case in point... while we were visiting her, she told me that she had some kindling firewood to give us. Then she showed it to us and told us the story of the firewood: There were 3 chunks of wood that she told me were at least 28 years old ... maybe older, she couldn't remember... anyway, she she had culled these out through out the years when loading her fireplace because she could see designs in them & couldn't bear to destroy them! Sure enough, when we looked again... there they were... one was an eagle... another was a face... the last one was the the "queen of hearts" (ok... i didnt see the queen of hearts... but everyone else did).

It turns out that we couldn't burn them either... the eagle and the face are sitting on our hearth! (I gave the queen to my sister... she could see it)

When we were kids, she always had something to show us (a cicada bug shell, a new cast-iron bank, a leaf, some dehydrated watermelon...delicious...there was always something.

This time was no different:

She said, "Oh, I want to show you something." and started rummaging around... she came back and put the cutest little monkey figurine in my hand:

------for some reason, blogger won't let me upload pics, so here are links to the pics on flickr... i will add them when i can... sorry------

http://static.flickr.com/99/302763569_b5eb279c40_m.jpg
http://static.flickr.com/115/302763571_fe28682b79_m.jpg
http://static.flickr.com/109/302763574_22d7241a21_m.jpg
http://static.flickr.com/114/302763575_baa83a1645_m.jpg

"This," she said, "was carved from a peach pit by your great-grandfather."
She then talked about how he had no formal training... he just took out a knife and carved... and that people would bring peach pits to him and he would examine them and decide if they were suitable for making a monkey. He never told what made it suitable or unsuitable... but all peachpits did not become monkeys.

She treated that little monkey like a priceless piece of art... because it is.

Thanks, Aunt Elizabeth, for helping me to see!

So my wish to you is that you all see the beauty... the Art in every day life. What a gift!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

ladylinoleum said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing Joanna. I'm sure that you do your grandmother proud with your amazing outlook, view of the world and wonderful artwork.

Sorry that it took me so long to get over here.