Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A many young girls do, I formed a special, close knit bond with another girl. She and I swore the “sacred” oath (despite the fact it was bad to “swear” in our conservative background)of secret sisters. “B.F.F.” Hoping to be blood sisters, we were secretly relived to discard our knife when my friend’s alarmed father cautioned us against the unhygienic horrors of the . We were both fascinated by crafts and stories. During our many sleepovers, we would often exercise our creative juices.After a good tromp in the woods, we would sew little bags to hold our keepsake, sketch cats and horses in our drawing pads, or make friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss - green for me and purple for her. As children, the world was still magical in our eyes, and our vivid imaginations expanded when in the other’s presence. We were rarely apart. When together, we created magical tales and often crafted the props for our adventures. One of my most treasured memories was on a warm a day when we made one of our last creations. We hiked to the creek behind her house and spent the day soaking our feet and talking gossiping about classmates. After awhile we decided to make a “friendship boat,” to give to the stream for a magical adventure, a mysterious journey that would symbolize our friendship. We wove twigs together with long grass and covered the skeleton in a kafuffle of wildflowers. The boat was exquisite, yet it to needed one last personal touch. We each tied a strand of our hair to the top. Together, we lowered it into the water and sent it down the brook. That damn boat hit a rock and fell apart.
Our creations do not always turn out as planned. They may not fit like the sweater that Ariel’s mom gave her, they may be lovable for their imperfections, or if they are a given, their fate may be a mystery. Although I like to imagine my scarves being cherished by their recipients, there is the possibility that they will be sitting on a shelf at goodwill in a year. Though this class, I have realized the precarious meaning that both material objects and the stories that give them meaning hold. The things that we make often reflect things of deeper importance, such as relationships and values. These are as delicate as woven silk, and can unravel if they are not taken care of properly. Care helps things retain their meaning. The things we make are like life. Sometimes they are achingly beautiful and other times warm and endearing, maybe even tacky, and occasionally, they are terrible. Creation is always fragile.
One of my favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy, views his art in a unique way, for his creations are made of natural objects that he finds and then uses to showcase their environment. Many of his creations are made in nature, and are designed to last only for a moment. His works of art are breathtaking, but some only last hours or seconds. One of my favorite sculptures was a swirl of ice that he pieced together with his spit. It melted when it was best seen, under the light of the sun. His art is focused on the beauty of the moment and the environment. It is similar to the scene in the film American Beauty where a boy shows the most beautiful footage that he has ever captured on film; it is a plastic bag swaying in the wind. Goldsworthy’s philosophy reflects a value that is deeply rooted in meaningful creations, both in fine art and the work of hobbyists – we need to create. His work reminded me of the small boat that my friend and I made in the fading summers of childhood. The symbol of our friendship was entrancing and mysterious, we were able to see its beauty come alive, sail, and then be destroyed. Sometimes I now try my creations in nature, and the experience is deeply rewarding. If you would like to see a short video of Goldworthy’s work then visit this page.