Friday, October 31, 2008

True Folk Art

Deb had a vision of this pot and wanted to make it for her Aloe Vera Plant. Somehow it just works and was well crafted as well. It made her smile.

I met a true folk artist at my shop a couple months ago and she came back today. She was waiting for me, after calling, in the parking lot when I got to work. Her name is Deb.
She reminds me of Georgia Michael, a friend of mine 26 years ago in Glade Springs, Virgina. Her art fits right in the Folk Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

I knew Deb was smart and talented with no formal education. She learned everything in a junior high art class many years ago. She did not forget a thing.
She is tiny. She has struggled with health issues. She is kind and aware of everything around her.

Today she came in and wanted to glaze a head she brought me to fire and we talked. I wish I could photograph her and write more about her life. She was fascinating and from a very different world than mine. In the course of our conversation she told me things in confidence I will not repeat. She was sincere and honest and we talked about her love of art and all about her life.

Art was what she did well. Through her art she tried to relate to and be accepted by others.

She found God through a Pentecostal church and she turned her life around. I am not normally a very traditionally religious person but I say "I am glad this worked for you." and I meant it.

She could always draw well and she said and I notice she knows a lot about art and artists. She has a deep understanding of the passion of art and why people create and the obsession of art.
She still survives and has pulled her act together.

Through her smiling and twitching I see a true artist. She explained to me the true passion of Van Gogh cutting off his ear. She understands.

She has befriended people no one else would ever understand. She has been down and out and homeless. Now she is happy and is a true survivor thanks to her art and religion. I see her coping skills as the friend who has driven her to my shop brings up some less pleasant topics and she says, "Oh please, lets not talk about that it makes me feel...upset...unhappy.. I..". We understand and change the subject. Her calmness returns.
I give her any clay I have to recycle whenever I see her and she is incredibly grateful.
I look forward to talking to her more and seeing life from her point of view. She has saved herself.
In her art I see a great need to create and communicate her deep feelings. She also creates very original and creative art with function. It is a pleasure to see true folk art in the making. Creativity and sanity and religion and intelligence, it all comes together and it is fascinating to see how it all works. Nothing gives Deb more happiness in life than creating her art work. That is pure non egocentric art.

There is hardly a dull day at the pottery. I should have been keeping a journal for years of all the types of people who come to the shop.
Yesterday it was an obsessed woodworker who cannot wait to create large busts. Never let the technical info slow you down! He was one of the few time consuming customers who actually offered to pay me for the hour and a half it took to sell him his bag of clay, a few tools. But I just said thanks for the offer and good luck.

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