Monday, October 24, 2011
My Drug of Choice
This is a fairly horrible photo, ruined by years in one of those photo albums with the sticky stripes that keep the photo from sliding around under the page's clear cover. Whoever it was that invented those deserves to have all their photos ruined. But that isn't what I wanted to talk about, nor is it why I posted the photo. This is me, on the left (my sister on the right) demonstrating card weaving at an art fair about 37 years ago. My infant son is sleeping on a blanket under my card table. Just out of sight is my display of batiks and woven belts that were for sale. My point is that I have been doing this for a long time. And I do it because it is addictive.
This past weekend I participated in the Washington County Open Studios tour and it was the same kind of rush I remember from so many similar events, maybe starting with the one pictured above.
I'm really not a big talker. I'm what people call "quiet." I've never been good at small talk or schmoozing. I am always a bit in awe of people who do that well. But at art fairs and shows and such, where I am showing my work, I love nothing more than talking to people about it and hearing what they have to say. They ask questions that I can answer and then their stories come out. They talk about grandmothers who made quilts, or the work they do, or what seeing art does for them. They tell me how it makes them feel. Sometimes they even buy a piece from me. If I'm not a great talker, I think I'm a good listener.
Yesterday I talked with a woman who, in her retirement from a highly technical job, learned to make huge fabric and paper mache puppets from a master puppet maker and the thrill she got doing it. I talked to a jewelry maker about her craft, and my partner in crime, Jeri, and I spent two days talking about our shared love of fabric and fiber and art and making. And compliments—which you always hear when you share your passion with people—they are like a chemical in the blood, infusing your spirit with a feeling of well-being and warmth. At the end of two days of this the body is weary, the feet are throbbing from standing on them for too long, but I'm on a high that I wouldn't trade for anything. Alcohol, drugs (not that I have any vast experience with them) have nothing on this. Addictive, I tell you.