Thank you…

… for the encouragement and validation. In our society, the concept of ‘work’ usually means something meaningful, useful and valuable; an occupation that in some way ‘helps’ others and carries some sort of monetary reward in exchange. Art is notably not ‘useful’ in the usual sense of the word, but it can be very powerful nevertheless. Some hospitals have art in the corridors to help patients recover better.  As several of you pointed out, our culture values all the ‘wrong’ occupations, and measures success by how much money you have. The arts were one of the first collective victims of the government cuts here in the UK – because art ‘doesn’t matter’ in the public consciousness.

And of course, art does matter. At least, it matters as much as anything else. I hope Brenda doesn’t mind, but something she said yesterday really struck a chord, and I’d like to share it here:

                            “As best as I can recollect, the most lasting things from any previous civilization/culture are its arts. Ever wonder why? Maybe they are an essential part of what it means to be human, to really be alive. Creating something beautiful with our own hands is as close as man will ever come to being divine.”

It’s true. Humans have been creating art since we could stand on two legs – and possibly even before that. So despite all the daily wobbles about whether I’m ‘good enough’ I intend to continue, for a time.

And yes, I’d rather make this than be an estate agent.

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17 Responses to Thank you…

  1. Gina says:

    I think Brenda has summed it up beautifully. The world is certainly a richer place with art.

  2. Sally Jo says:

    Oh, what a beautiful cloth, Karen. I am also glad that you aren’t an estate agent – leaving nothing tangible for you children and grandchildren. I would miss your most wonderful creations. Have been out of the loop for a few days (busy), but the arts are what makes our surroundings so special, and seems like we will travel to enjoy the marvels of our planet and the arts. In our schools in the USA, to save money, the arts and physical education have been thrown out in many instances. Look at our population now, so many people with serious weight problems. Guess I am rambling, but I surely agree with you.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I have no children, Sally Jo, so no grandchildren either. I’m a little envious of those who have someone to whom they can leave things behind. But yes, I look around at people generally – eating too much, drinking too much, taking drugs – and I wonder, are people happy? In many cases, I think not.

      • Sally Jo says:

        And that is my point I guess, that people would be happier if our schools offered a well rounded group of subject. A more active life leads to a healthier person, and learning to appreciate the arts helps us to see the beauty and worth around us. You are the lucky one not to be the estate agent.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hej Karen,
    The other day I wrote these words in my journal after learning about the cutting in funds for art in Sweden.

    Art: a word that describes the natural resource and development of creativity of the human kind.
    Without art there would be
    no publishing industry
    no music industry
    no movie industry

    but also no source of inspiration for architecture, industrial design, interior design or fashion. Our history is based on story-telling and leaving a visual testament without it we wouldn’t be who we are today.

    So anyone stating that art has no importance needs to go back to school to learn about the history of human kind and check out the economical influence it has in the countries around the world past and present.

    Just between the two of us we already came up with some awesome reasons why it is foolish to think that art has no merit.

    Thank you for you well written post.

  4. jackywllms says:

    Yes, art was one of the first things cut from the curriculum at my boys schools….I think they felt it was an indulgence, of no importance to them out in the ‘real world’.

    I’m so glad you’re not a real estate agent either….much gentler proffession this stitching.

    Jacky xox

  5. bwilliams says:

    Karen, usually the first discussion in my high school art class revolves around why it is important to study art. Although many of them can tell a bit about ancient cultures they have studied in history classes, they have no idea how we learn about cultures with no written records. The arts are very often our only record of such cultures. Looking back at our own family, who didn’t keep journals and were not famous people, I can learn a lot from the things left behind that were made with their hands. My husbands grandmother raised eleven kids on nearly nothing. I only met her once as a child. But I know she loved color and beauty. The flowers and quilts she left in our yard and in our old house testify to that. She was very conscientious and took pride in her work. The size and uniformity of the stitches speak of this. She was creative and had a innate sense of design evidenced by the various stitch embellishments,embroidery, and color play in her handwork. Her creations are part of the record of a rich life lived fully. We are grateful for this evidence. I live in an area that many consider arts poor, no museums, galleries, etc. But I love to point out the arts present in the daily life of my students. Discussions like this help my students see the value of not only the “fine” arts, but also the everyday art of the not so common man, and woman too. Sometimes a kid will come to me later and tell me about his grandmother’s handwork or grandfather’s woodwork. The kindling of pride in both local and family heritage is gratifying. And Karen, though you have no children of your own, rest assured you are passing on a legacy to your readers.

  6. arlee says:

    Achingly beautiful WORK, Art 🙂

  7. Connie Rose says:

    I love Brenda’s comment from yesterday, thanks for sharing today. I completely agree about artists touching the divine in making things, that’s exactly what the divine is and does. In the U.S. the arts were cut out of public curricula eons ago, along with music. In this moment I am seeing the world divided into two groups of people ~ those who are the inspired, spirit-seeking creators of art and creative works…and those who aren’t: politicians, corporations, most business people, people in power, etc., who simply place no value on anything that involves spirit.

  8. Rachel says:

    People tend to assume that “work” is something one doesn’t enjoy, that one does to pay the bills. As I said yesterday, many scientists love their “work” and would do it anyway. And remember scientists and engineers design the equipment that spins yarn, weaves fabric and provide the colour in everything man-made that we use. All of it matters, to everyone.

  9. Penny says:

    I’m just now getting into this discussion — but I would point out that long after the estate agent has left that job no one will even remember the paperwork she pushed across her desk. However, your art will be lasting tribute to beauty and skill and all that is good. Ignorance is a very difficult thing to ‘battle’ and so I guess I say that each of us should be true to ourselves, doing the ‘work’ that pleases us, that speaks to others and that doesn’t necessarily reflect the materialism that dominates the world today.

    • Karen Turner says:

      That’s true, I hadn’t thought of that, Penny. Really, it’s not her fault. As you say, ignorance is difficult to combat because of the very nature of ignorance – if you don’t know you don’t know about something, you wouldn’t know you needed to find out about it. i hope that makes sense!

  10. tina says:

    lovely work karen, and Im glad your not an estate agent,your art makes my life richer, when I cant fit in any sewing–0 I look at yours, cheers me up no end…

  11. kathy says:

    art and craft are about seeing beauty, and then being able to show it to others in a way that makes them stop and soak up for a bit. I spent a period of about 20 years visiting my mother in and out of hospital, and the works of art and stitch on display there were a balm in a difficult place and time. This piece would offer the same gift to passers by

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