wise woman in a storm…

As my hands automatically tore old bread into pieces for the birds, I remembered my mother’s hands going through these motions hundreds, thousands of times.

“for the birds” was an unwritten edict in our house. Any stale bread, crackers, old popcorn was always shoveled into an aluminum pan for the birds, to be sprinkled in the yard or put into one of several bird feeders available.

My mom is like that. She will always use what she has, for others that have less. This might be magazines and catalogs for a neighbor, a coat for a friend, paying someone’s electric bill, spending time with an older person, and bread for the birds. Whatever she has, if you need it, you will not leave her house without it…she will press it into your hands and refuse to take it back.

Never fails to amaze me how I see parts of her in my children…how Nina carries an entire over-the-counter pharmacy in her bag-which must be within her reach at all times, so does my mom and will hand you 3 varieties of cold drugs, depending on your maladies. How Tasha can read anything and remember the finer points months later, as they pertain to your question to her…so does my mom, and she will tell you that she thought of you when she read that particular article…heck, she will probably send it to you, with underlining on the pertinent parts. How Michaela’s hand gestures, posture, and ways of expressing herself mirror my mother’s mannerisms, down to a specific glance that she gives me when she thinks I am full of it…

I shake my head at her positive outlook, even when things aren’t positively looking up…but lest you get me wrong, she isn’t a saint. She can cuss a blue streak or write a scathing nasty letter when she is fed up with something, and will not trust someone twice, if they disappoint her. A wise woman in a storm…one to batten down the hatches, and listen to a little AC/DC or Nine Inch Nails while the rain pounds on the windows, petting Sam, her feline companion (she rescued him from his stray lifestyle).

Colorful, genuine, brilliant and selfless…that’s Judy.

hippie heaven

i was part of something awesome today…

I have a friend who knows things…you know those people who seem like they know everything?  Like they just don’t act like they know everything and really don’t- they really do know just about everything.  Anyway, she, in passing, said “Bountiful Baskets” to me, and then said over her shoulder, “look it up online”.  So i did.  I couldn’t seem to get my mind around it, and visited the website several times…each time I figured out a bit more.  It seemed that one could buy a “basket” of fresh produce for a nominal price, and that “baskets” were delivered all over…there were several states represented, and I could pick it up here in town.  But you had to order and pay for the basket ahead of time, at a very specific time, and pick it up at a specific time.  So I followed the directions and ordered- plus some other stuff that sounded good, like an Asian Veggie Pack, Wheat Bread, and Italian Olive Oil Bread.

My pick up time was at 12:30 on Saturday.  All week I was worried I would forget…I forget things.  Like totally forget and then whatever it was, is over.  So I had reminders all over, and told people to remind me.  Finally I decided to go early and volunteer to put together baskets, so i wouldn’t be late.

When I got there, I was greeted by very nice people and rows and rows of white laundry baskets on the floor- there was probably 80-100 baskets.  The wonderful woman leader, I think her name was Sarah, explained what to do.  When the truck came, we would help unload and fill all the baskets with the produce.  Simple enough.  There were perhaps 20 people volunteering and I thought it was a bit of overkill on the volunteering.  Not so!  When the truck came, the produce just kept piling out of there! We had sweet corn, broccoli, cauliflower, pomegranates, apples, oranges, pears, kiwis, butter lettuce, brussel sprouts, bananas and more!  I was stunned!  I was expecting maybe a few apples, bananas, lettuce…it was amazing, beautiful fresh produce.  And all of the volunteers just pitched in together.  I helped put broccoli in baskets, and sweet corn.

We had the sweet corn for lunch, and I made stir fry with my Asian veggies tonight- there was bok choy, green onions, garlic, Thai basil, celery, pea pods, and fresh water chestnuts! There was a piece of some type of root, that I suspect was ginger, and I grated some into the stir fry as well.  It was stupendous! The veggies were so fresh, like they were picked today! 🙂

It was truly hippie heaven…amazing produce with people working together to create something that helped other people…

I was part of something awesome today.

Owning the energy…

Having worked my way thru countless art fairs, craft fairs, harvest festivals, farmers markets, gallery openings and gift shops, I have watched varied reactions to the price of fine art, and hand crafted items.  Too many times i have seen someone pick up one of my favorite pieces from a recent firing, one that shouted to me from the back of the kiln with its fire touched glaze, saying “look at me!! I’m here! I survived!”— and watched them glance at the price and quickly put it down, even saying to a shopping partner, “ooof, toooo expensive!”

A spinner friend of mine, Sarah, recently put a beeee-autiful piece on etsy.  Its a cowl (pictured to the left) that she knit from wool that she not only spun, but dyed previously to that.   She has taken workshops and worked for years on her own to perfect some gorgeous spinning technique.  When I asked her how she had made this piece- what kind of knit stitch and dying/spinning questions, she replied:

“This was the second half of the 8 oz roving I dyed in fiber form. I spun a singles in thick and thin, then coil plied it with three different colors of cotton/poly thread held together. It’s knit into a moebius – three rows of knit, three rows of purl – alternated.”

Wow…she did everything short of go out to the pasture and shear the sheep!  Sarah probably wouldn’t view any of what she did as a ‘big deal’… but not everyone can do that… and that is why hand crafted things cost more. They are not made by some machine in a foreign country, from a machine made polyester fiber that was made from recycled water bottles.

Items like this are made by real people, with lives and kids…pets and spouses…people that are trying to figure out how to fit in some ‘art time’, some spinning time, some potting time, in between their jobs, their obligations, their kids’ soccer games.  Real people that had a vision for the piece before it was birthed…a vision that they mulled in their mind how to make tangible, a vision that they wrestled thru with the fiber, the dye, the paint, the clay, the wire, the beads, the glass, the paper…real people that then created and breathed thru that process…and offered it to the public…

When you pick up a piece of art, a hand crafted item, you are picking up the experience of the making, you are picking up the energy of the artist, the process and birth of the piece.  You are being given the opportunity to own the evolution of the piece from birth…the story…

how do you put a price on that?

Make each day.

When i meet a new person, i note variousities about them, but one thing i do notice rather quickly is whether they are a “maker”, a “meeter”, a “helper” or a “muller”… these are my own terms, and they are not all inclusive, but there are people whose mission seems to be meeting people, and those who are just born helpers.  Some are thinkers, and spend countless hours figuring things out, and of course there is us- the ‘makers’…we make things.  We bake, we sew, we knit, we fix, we create, we photograph, we build, we are makers.

This morning, i was considering the New Year, yes, trite, I know…a New Year post…but I was.  Its a new year, a new start…and i was thinking about what i need to do this year, to make it a more worthwhile, more satisfying year.  And the phrase “make every day” wandered thru my mind, and it resonated with me…in both forms of its meaning…to create something of value each day, but also to create the day- to unwrap it each morning, as a package of wealth, something to be treasured and used…not one of those gifts we get and re-gift to someone else because it is trivial to us- but to consider it, to turn it over and examine it and to decide how we will make use of it.  Whether its to make a list, or a trip, to meet a friend or walk a mile…don’t let a day pass without making it, that is my goal.

And for you my friends, for this coming year, I wish you breath…that you will find breath in your lungs to bless others, to sing, to race, to laugh, to dance, to learn, to enjoy, to be thankful, to make change, to spend time in the light…and to make.

Much love,

Pat