September 1, 2011
Yesterday was a busy day filled with two very different expressions of art. In the morning I drove to a friend’s home in the country where in spite of the heat several of us artists painted outside. I sat down near a pond painting a scene that included both a metal piece of yard art and clumps of those many petaled yellow flowers with brown centers that some call brown eyed Susans and my friend’s botanist husband calls by a name I don’t know how to spell.
We ate lunch together inside where it was cool and then I drove back to town to participate in a very traditional form of art that I seem to see less of these days. That is the crafts, usually created by women, which are sold, often during the Christmas season, to benefit their church. At least in the Midwest these church bazaars have been going on for years. Many of the products are fairly high quality, even though some of the designs are not original, for instance, objects featuring quilting. Groups of women would get together, often beginning many months ahead of the sale. Led by a member who was both a leader and had some artistic ability they would spend hours creating small items that would be sold inexpensively to raise money.
The problem these days is that the only women who have time to do this sort of thing are of retirement age. Younger women are busy with both families and employment. For this reason the Christmas bazaar held by our church no longer sells exclusively handmade items. Some have been purchased very inexpensively at commercial establishments having after Christmas sales.
But at our church there is still a group of older women who continue the tradition of handmade crafts, and yesterday afternoon I joined them. We worked on various items, Christmas tree skirts, a table runner and star shaped stuffed cloth tree ornaments. I was assigned to work on the tree ornaments, which had already been sewn but needed to be turned right side up, a tough task, stuffed and hand sewn shut. While I was doing this Iwas thinking how much work went into these small objects and how little money they would bring.
Fortunately, I have come up with a way to contribute to the cause that involves much less work. I made up some note cards with photos of my snow scenes paintings. The women seemed to like them and think they would sell. In fact one of the women has already ordered 20. These note cards are easy to assemble in a short amount of time. To me that’s a winning combination.