ordinary arts FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2011
The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance than their simplicity might suggest. - Thomas Moore Inspired by Kyrie’s recent series of blog posts, I’ve been thinking about the ordinary arts in our home. In Kyrie’s words, “the ordinary arts are what compose my life, make my home, nourish my children and myself. The ordinary arts may be plain in their everyday-ness, but they are extraordinary in that they are the real fabric of the lives of myself and my family.” My own creative work begins in the heart of our home, the kitchen. I was nourished by my mother’s love for good food growing up. She is a true artist in the kitchen, cooking fresh, delicious meals from basic ingredients all year round. And now, nothing satisfies me more than discovering the last root vegetables from our summer farm share . . . washing them, chopping them, and combining them into a delicious soup. While I was occupied in the kitchen this afternoon, Amabel and Ellen played close by, immersed in their own form of art. I listened to the girls chattering as they pulled corn kernels off dried corn cobs. First the kernels were teeth, extracted from willing (and not so willing) patients in their dentist office. Then, once all those yellow and brown teeth were removed, the girls used their treasures to open up a candy corn shop. Brilliant. Admittedly, I’m not much of a crafter (I prefer freestyle ‘craft materials’ such as dried corn kernels). But I do feel like crafting approaches the realm of ordinary art when I can transform something old or unused (easily obtainable inside or outside our house) into something beautiful or useful. This week we did a bit of sewing and crafting in preparation for Halloween. I turned a bunch of old felted sweaters into a much requested baby dragon costume for Ellen. Then Amabel and I made a mermaid wand (who knew mermaids had wands?) out of a dowel and an assortment of ribbons. In the midst of these two little projects, I realized how much the girls love to watch me use my hands (while they, in their excitement, make a glorious mess all around me!). It was a bit of magic for them to watch their costumes come to life before their very eyes. Finally, photography has grown to be an important part my rhythm. Taking pictures of the daily activity around our home gives me an opportunity to recognize the value in the simple work of my hands, the joy of sharing life with our daughters, and the most remarkable yet ordinary art of all the natural world that surrounds us.