Saturday, January 8, 2011

Art is Everywhere

Today at the Birmingham fiber guild meeting, we talked about keeping journals for fiber art work.  One very gifted weaver commented that she never thought about her weaving logs as a journal; others said they never thought of keeping a record of their knitting, even though they kept other kinds of journals. 

Some of us are meticulous, using a standard format to record every project, dating and measuring each finished product, while others (like me) reach for the nearest notebook when inspiration strikes, open to a random page, and sketch, paste, write, figure.  I have index cards, notes on the backs of envelopes and receipts, all kinds of little bits of paper tucked into my fiber journals.  That’s how I know that I’m a non-linear person to the max.

But we are all artists.  It took me a long time to realize that “art is made by ordinary people,” as Ted Ormond and David Bayles write in their invaluable book, Art and Fear.
I had grown up with a skewed idea about art and artists, an idea that prevented me from accessing my creativity for a long time.

Like many conservative, well-educated midwesterners in the fifties and sixties, my parents respected art and artists, especially old masters like Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo.  But they became very uncomfortable around twentieth-century art like the Socialist murals of Diego Rivera in the Detroit Art Institute, and they assumed that artists live chaotic lives filled with substance abuse, unstable relationships, and even insanity.  As a child, I was presented with a double-bind:  art is admirable and worthy of veneration, but only if it has been made by people a long time ago and safely housed in a museum for at least a hundred years.

Now I know that art is everywhere. 

The occasions for it and examples of it are everywhere.  Today at the guild meeting I saw beautiful hand-woven scarves, I saw women knitting beautiful socks, I looked at an artist’s journals containing scores of visually striking compositions.  And all of these women look just like me, and pass unremarked at the mall or the grocery store.  Except that we all have a kind of glow when we’re making beautiful things. 

One of my resolutions this year is to keep art alive in my life and introduce it in a place I’ve been afraid to let it out.  For me, that’s my office at the college where I teach.  This year, I resolve to make my work environment more colorful, more inspiring. 

How do you personalize your work space?


Knitting is Gluten Free said...
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Knitting is Gluten Free said...

"Now I know that art is everywhere."

You are amazing. This was yet another wonderful post, and I look forward to reading even more of your work.

Why you do not have a ton of comments is beyond me. People need to find you. You deserve so much more.

Knitting is Gluten Free said...

PS: I personalize my work space by taping photos of my family (which of course includes my two dogs) and my knitting on the back of my office door.

Lynne said...

Ms. Ramsey, again you have flung the doors of my perception wide open. Reading your work makes me immediately relax, unfold, breathe in a better world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!!!

I personalize my space by starting at least 4 projects at once, leaving them out for inspiration. LOL.