Monday, October 14, 2013

Doing the New Thing

"Magic Sticks"

It will soon be Halloween, I realize.  Halloween once meant diving into boxes of decorations and costume parts and pieces accumulated over years:  Masks, fake blood, face paint, plastic fingernails, Happy Meal buckets, even packages of (very messy) phony cobwebs to string around the front windows and porch.  It meant fighting off the temptation to swipe "fun-size" candy bars out of the stash purchased for trick-or-treaters.  It used to involve my sewing machine, as in when I once sewed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shell for my older son, Michaelangelo.  (Just kidding.  His real name is Jonathan.  We only called him Mikey for fun.)  Pumpkin carving (eww) and playing scary music out the front windows.  

We used to offer a Fall Festival at my home church, where the kids could wear their costumes, play games, eat creepy treats like Worms in Dirt and Hand-Maid Punch.  We'd have quasi-carnival games like a cake walk and decorated pumpkin cookies.  Everyone was guaranteed a stomachache the next day, and everyone had a ball.  My favorite thing to do was to dress up as a gypsy, "Madame Fortuna Casserole" and tell fortunes with a bagful of polished stones and crystals and a pack of tarot cards.  Everyone knew it was bogus but making up fortunes was a lot of storytelling fun.

In my new life as a working artist, I realize that the most fun came from making something amazing using the resources that were readily available to us.  Fruit juice frozen inside rubber gloves became the ice cubes floating in Hand-Made Punch.  Crushed chocolate cookies and candy worms topped pudding cups for the Worms in Dirt.  Pretty pictures on tarot cards inspired fanciful predictions for aspiring ballerinas and astronauts.  

Artists everywhere have helped build culture, historicizing society using the resources that are available to them.  Often artist's images are the first mirrors held up to trends and paradigm shifts in politics, religion, values.  Sometimes however, art is art because artists find ordinary things and are compelled to do something extraordinary with those things.  Great chefs do it with food.  Designers use bricks and mortar.  Storytellers do it with a handful of sticks.  Magic sticks.  And paper.

Anyway.  Now that I am a crone and full of the wisdom and experience of my age, I have a lot of time that won't be spent sewing TMNT shells or painting Darth Maul faces on little kids.  So I have more time for my Magic Sticks.

It's a good thing it's almost Halloween.  It's a good season to make magic.

Join me on October 20th 
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Monticello Seasonal Cuisine
630 G Street
Davis, CA 95616