WE ARE MAGICAL: Know That What We Do Is Not ‘Ordinary’

I’m in a tear trying to get ready for a jam-packed weekend. Our 29th wedding anniversary is Sunday, and that’s actually #5 on our list of things to do.

On Monday, we stuff my booth into our car and drive four hours north to
The Balsams, where I’ll be doing a week-long artist-in-residency for the hotel guests–teaching classes, demo-ing, displaying and (hopefully!) selling my artwork.

This kind of thing is really hard on a perfectionist like moi. Trying to do everything perfectly, preparing for every contingency, planning on providing the perfect artistic experience… It’s easy to get lost in all the mundane details of getting everything from here to there, retrieving artwork from other exhibitions today, trying to figure out where my beloved Claudia Rose rubber stamps are. (They’re perfect for the make it & take it workshops I do at The Balsams.)

I know we’ll get all the way up there and I’ll realize I’ve forgotten some critical piece of display or equipment. There will be tears and late-night searches for duct tape and twine, and wondering where the heck I packed the bug spray.

And like a little feather of hope falling gently into my life, came a little card in the mail today.

It was from someone I’d done something nice for a few weeks ago. Short story, part of the nice was a little pair of handmade earrings I threw into a package at the last minute. It wasn’t even my signature polymer work. They were pearl earrings accented with hand-soldered and shaped sterling wire accents, very pretty and organic. But, in my mind, nothing extraordinary at all.

What stopped my buzzy brain was this line:

Luann–the earrings are beautiful! I’ve never had a piece of jewelry that was made by someone I knew. I will wear them often & think of you when I do!

This woman–an intelligent, multi-degreed, active and attractive woman–has never owned a piece of jewelry made by someone she knows…. And she is astonished.

That tiny little gesture I made on a whim, has shifted her whole perception of handmade jewelry. She now owns something she deems doubly–no, triply precious: they are beautiful, they are handmade, they are handmade by me, her friend. Her mind boggles.

How often do we diminish our gifts?

How many times have you thought, “Well, yeah, these are cute. But I’ll never make anything as cool as so-and-so, world-famous artist person.”

How many times have we underpriced our work, certain that no one will think it’s actually worth the time, the skill and the creative vision we’ve put into it?

How many times have we hesitated about entering an exhibition, or approaching a gallery, or doing a new show, certain that no one would really be interested in our work?

How many times have we secretly squirmed when a customer admired our work or even bought it, wondering what they’d think if they knew how easy it was for us to make it?

I do it all the time. Even when I set a reasonable price for my work, I often find myself apologizing for it.

No more.

What we do isn’t easy, except that we’ve gotten very good at doing it.

What we do isn’t ordinary, except that it is so familiar to us.

What we do isn’t unworthy, because it comes from the skill of our hands, the judgment of our eyes, the passion in our hearts.

What we do is just….amazing.

Sometimes, it takes another person, someone whose life works on other levels, in other circles–perhaps even one who saves lives, as this woman does–to see the beauty, the astonishment, the miracle in what we do.

Simply put:

We are magical.

(With apologies the the delightful blog Hyperbole and a Half by Allie, whose post about her simple-minded dog made me laugh til I cried, and inspired the title of this post.)

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7 Comments

Filed under art, craft, creativity, inspiration

7 responses to “WE ARE MAGICAL: Know That What We Do Is Not ‘Ordinary’

  1. lol I can be magical all right… but that simple-minded dog has it all over me… nobody gets excited over MY food. Take your vitamins and have a great summer! oxo

  2. Hi Luann~
    saving lives Is important – being able to bring someone to Living life is equally as important. Value for both**

  3. Good deeds become magnified for a grateful receiver. I ordered a beautifully painted, carved wooden snake from an artist. There was a second one I wanted from the several varieties that he had for sale, but I couldn’t afford both. When my package arrived, there was the other snake. He just tossed it in for some reason, saying he thought I might like it too. I’d never even mentioned it to him in my order. I wrote him, gushing with gratitude.

  4. Thank you, Louann!
    I am always looking at my work as just what I do. When people find pleasure it our work is something we can share in.
    The Artist -in-Residence at such a magnificent place as The Balsams sounds like such a delight! From flat, hot Florida I am envisioning myself there: evergreens, mountains and crisp air Ahhhhhhh.

  5. Luann,
    you are right… there is a magic that happens when things are made by the hand of a craftsman (woman) that does not happen in a factory. It is soul. There is something of all of us in the things we make. People will feel it if given the chance. They can only be given that chance if they pay a price that allows us to stay in business and make a profit. So rock on girl and educate others on the feeling your friend had when she touched your handmade art!
    Steve

  6. Pingback: Guest Post « Collidescopes Blog

  7. erica

    happy (very) belated anniversary! hope it was special!

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