Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eudora's Owl: Thoughts on being an artist

So, I've been thinking a lot about creativity.  I had an art teacher when I was in eighth grade who told me that if I ever hoped to be an artist, she hoped I married well, because otherwise, I'd starve. I believed her. After all she was an adult, and an artist, and my teacher. Surely she knew what she was talking about.

For years, I puttered about creating jewelry, crocheting, embroidering, messing with polymer clay or beads, but never thought of myself as an artist.  Even when I began writing pysanky, I still thought of myself as a dabbler.  It wasn't until I started donating things I made to charity for silent auctions that I began to think maybe my eighth grade teacher might have had her head up her bum when she gave her advice -- and this was only because I began to see my creations offered and listed as art, not as jewelry or crafts, or junk. People began asking for pysanky for special occasions, or commissioning them (which I would do for a donation to one of the charities I support, rather than for my own profit.) Then several of my pysanky were accepted by the Ukrainian Art Museum for their collection, and I had to rethink my self-definition.

Lately, I'm trying new mediums with my pysanky skills.  I'd written a number of bags and satchels, even an ice chest, with rave reviews, and thought maybe I can apply the pysanky symbols in other ways. So, I've been playing with colored pencils, paints, and markers, and having a wonderful time.

Today, this little owl was born. It's destined for Eudora, the youngest daughter of some dear friends. One of her first words was "owl" and she loves the birds.  Hope she likes it. I had fun bringing it to being. And see that egg in the basket below?  The one at the 6:00 position? that's the one I've saved for my eighth grade art teacher, just to prove that once I stopped listening to her wretched advice, I found my art.


  1. The word art means so many things that it's pretty much useless. Your eggs, on the other hand, are wonderful.

  2. I'm always stunned by how much damage a teacher can do to a child. I'm glad you moved past it, but how much beauty did the world lose during the years you believed her?

    I remember the thrill of the first time a stranger bought something I made. I wonder if writers feel any bigger thrill.

    The owl is gorgeous as are the eggs.

  3. Thank you both. I really am not sure I can judge what I do as art by the outcome. It's more how I feel when creating it. Love you (and your beautiful creativity) both.

  4. It's sad how much damage unthinking teachers and parents can do to children full of life and creativity. They need to be gently taught how to express it, not quenched.

  5. I had a dear friend (the one who introduced me to BookCrossing), who was an art teacher for elementary/middle school kids. Her theory was that every child could express and create artistically, and should be encouraged to do so and feel good about what they did. The fault was ours if we thought differently.