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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in consumerism (1)

Wednesday
Nov192008

I want that Wednesdays #2

Have you ever taken a craft or art workshop? I think the last time I did I was about 8, and my white paint got tainted with ochre and I ended up with yellow clouds on my painting of some old building in Charleston. I want to try again.

***

Last week I decided that I'd create a recurring feature for my blog, "I Want that Wednesdays." Kinda cute and snappy. And consumerist.

And, look, consumerism gets a bad rap, especially these days, but I think that there is room for consumption that is conscious and conscientious--like buying handmade or "upcycled." I don't know much about physics, but I believe in the words "conservation of mass-energy." We are all here on earth for an indeterminate time, and we all have to find a way to entertain ourselves, make ourselves useful, and try to bring comfort and joy to others. I think that people who make things with their hands for the enjoyment of others are making the most of this mass-energy balance--entertaining themselves with their travails and entertaining others with the fruits of those travails.

So, this Wednesday, I want that. I want the spirit of thinking and making and giving that animates the best of art and craft. And I am feeling it more than ever as I reconnect with old friends, find new outlets for my ideas, and encounter the stunning richness of creativity that is but a click away thanks to the internet. More than ever, I am at home in my own abilities and able to enjoy the talents of others without jealousy. And I want more of that. More! I want to foster more connection and more encouragement. More friendship and more cross-pollination.

***

I remember the first time I bought a bead and strung it on a wire twenty years ago. My friend Nia had received these beautiful amethyst earrings for her birthday. I can still see them clearly: three smooth, round, deep purple (don't ask--I make an exception for amethyst) beads, each hung from a graduated silver pin. So simple, but so lovely. And I coveted them. So I got my mother to take me to the only store in Mount Pleasant that sold beading materials back then, and I bought some purple glass beads and eye pins and earring wires. And I had no idea what to do with them. I found my dad's rusty needlenose pliers and set to work. After hours of struggle, I had a decent pair of earrings--nothing nearly so fine as the ones Nia had been given, but attractive nonetheless. But the thing was so much less valuable to me by then than the making of the thing. I had imagined something and made it real, and that was exhilirating. I wanted the thing. What I got was so much more.

***

When my husband and I got married, we didn't have time or money for a honeymoon (I started law school the same week). And I have been fantasizing ever since then about a different kind of trip. A learning trip. There are several schools for art and craft within driving distance of our home that offer one- and two-week courses in all sorts of disciplines. I can imagine him spending a week on photography while I do a week on metalsmithing. Or he could do a week of lithography while I do a week of bookmaking. Sounds dreamy, right? So far, I've bookmarked the John C. Campbell Folk School, the Penland School of Crafts, and Asheville Bookworks, but I'm sure there are lots of others within range.

In the meantime, maybe a shorter workshop closer to home is a good idea? Redux Studios is a local print studio that has been offering a wide array of classes for the past few years. Hmm...

Any suggestions for other drool-worthy craft-nerd immersion programs? Experiences?