Mother as Curator: On Seeing God in Art and in the Artist
I haven’t written here about my time at BlissDom Conference, how I roomed with and next to the besties I only get to see once a year. If you’re not a blogger, I know you think this is weird. Go on ahead.
Arianne, Sara Sophia, and I can break it down. Then add a little Abby sauce to it? You’ve got friendship magic. And yes, “break it down” means to dance. And it also means to cut straight to the I Love Yous and the Yes You Cans and the those pants don’t work on yous.
My heart gets suffocate-y to think of not laying eyes on them again for a long time, so we text and call and Skype as best we can. Thankfully, I get to have my bloggy friend Emily all the time, because she’s moved to Fayetteville. We flew to BlissDom together, and I’m not sure I’ve laughed that hard ever. One minute our eyes well up with tears in intense conversation, and the next minute I can’t breathe because I’m laughing so hard. Good medicine, I tell you!
When I’m with my blogger friends, I feel like I let my real me out. I wish I lived that way all the time, free and peaked out on goofy. I’m not sure I’ve ever expressed here how well I do goofy either. It’s one of my special talents.
Immediately when I met Selena of Le Petit Reve, I knew that I could delve deep, and I knew that I could express myself in utter goofiness and as an artist. I already knew I could be that way with Amy Turn Sharp, too. Both of those girls, who roomed next to me, too, were like us, lovers of spirit, art, and a party. They carried on together from room to room, wore flowers in their hair and red on their lips.
Selena got to tell me about her people, the Anishinabek, her identity, the elders, how they name their children, how some write songs by reading the skyline. Her art is organic, highest quality. My Titus sucks on the ears of the fox she made, and she knew he would. The wood that hangs her mobiles has drifted in native waters. Her artistic gut is precise and studied, but also part of it came with her when she was born. Some people reflect creator on contact. To talk to Selena is to know that we were made in God’s image.
Amy is that way, too, blue eyes and voluminous voice, lips. I heard her tell people over and over not to sell themselves short. She can look at a life and get a vision. She’s a dream-caster and sizes people up in a second. Her business sense is keen, and what she and her husband have made together – babies, toys, and love – it is the kind of good you want to pass down to your children. Her handmade wooden toys for wee ones, her Little Alouette, it’s all so simple good, art. Titus’ teeth are pecking even now between thin gums and a tiny wooden guitar.
At one point on my trip, I experience some rejection, and it was okay, but in the moment it hurt me deeply. Selena and Amy had no clue, but directly after it happened, seconds after, they came up to me, up close to my face.
Amy put her arms around me and squeezed into my neck, and she looked at my eyes and told me she loved me. Something about the moment was so tender, so we got all mushy and cried, and Selena grabbed my arm, and we all three called ourselves broken. All artists are. We looked at each other in the way that said not irreparable.
We identified with each other, in different places in faith, from different states and countries. Same maker. Same need for healing touches and friendship. Especially after rejection, if was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever had.
When it comes to being a woman, a mother, curators of art as we are, it is paramount to see God everywhere as He is, especially in other people and their art. I look at these little toys, the wooden guitar and the fox, and they are not my idols. But they are most special to me, and I’ll never give them away. I’d turn my car around and go back for them.
In 2073 my great great grandchildren will open a box, and they’ll know in the pit of their stomachs that even toys tell stories. The art we make and the art we love, there are glints of gospel even there.
Please visit their gorgeous shops. Indeed, I wish you could feel the smooth and the soft through the screen!