Art in Building Relationship

It helps to have a loose definition of “art”. Mine is “anything I like to look at”.

My daughters have always shown interest in artistic pursuits, from painting and drawing to writing poetry and stories. I like to think their early attempts showed promise, and I have kept quite a few of them to frame.

But now that they are working adults, I’m lucky to get time with them looking at other people’s art. Even that is a great way to spend time together and gets us talking, and finding out surprising things about likes and dislikes. Something as simple as sharing a great pic online or on my phone is using art to enhance a relationship.

I saw this cutie in J’s yard this week and had fun showing it to the family. Seriously, I would print and frame this. Art, right?

You don’t have to live in a metropolitan area full of museums and art shows to do this. I am now in a small town in northern Wisconsin and we have art walks, a “touristy” shop featuring local art, and small collections of great art in some of our major buildings – like the hospital and medical clinic. And of course there is the outdoors, where art is everywhere for the camera to find.

This stack of fabric is an art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. I have something almost like this in my sewing stash.

One of my memorable outings was to a museum in Seattle with my daughter E. This was probably during one of our April birthday week celebrations and what I saw there stretched my definition of “art” in some fun ways. Actually, walking around E’s house and seeing what she likes to look at is also quite fun, and stretching.

Some of my “faves” at E’s house give me clues to her minimalistic longings and the whimsical side of humor.

I’m thinking, lately, of what my art says about me. And what I would like it to say…

#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things F


repurposed dresses from the 80’s and scraps from other projects – now a tablecloth


Defined: 1)A cloth produced especially by knitting, weaving, or felting fibers. 2) A complex underlying structure: “the fabric of society”.

I hardly ever meet fabric I don’t like. I like to look at it, feel it for smoothness and thickness, see how it lies and bends. I love to make things with it, which is why I have accumulated what we call a “stash”. It’s fabric that is waiting to be used for something. It might have been bought for a specific project which never got off the drawing board, or it may have just been too good a price to pass up, but of course, I’ll figure out how to use it later. From every project that does get done, there are scraps of fabric and even these have a charm all their own when combined with each other in various colors and designs. That’s what I love about fabric – the endless variety, beauty and usefulness that it’s capable of.

From years of sewing everything from clothing for my own family, wedding dresses for friends, and home decorating with curtains and coverings,  to clothing for horses, and dogs, I have gained a respect for cloth. It has to be chosen correctly for its purpose, positioned to drape correctly, handled and fashioned “just so” or it will not behave. Watch a couple episodes of “Project Runway” and you’ll see what I mean.

I have often thought while sewing (really, I have) that there are so many parallels between fabric and society. That second definition really says it all. The fabric of society that is us, is complex and it underlies everything that is important and dear to us. We all have our part in making that fabric look and act the way it does. We are those fibers that get woven together in actions and dependencies over a lifetime. We are stronger together, but we are only as strong as the weakest fiber and there are many things that can stress and weaken us.

There are some fabrics that are woven with the expectation that the fibers will be smoothly aligned and uniform. Others show the beautiful twists, turns and flaws that make them unique and priceless.  I get kind of excited just thinking about it. It always sets me thinking about whether I make the fabric of society weaker or stronger.  Do you see what I mean?

This stack of fabric is an art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum.

Part of my own “art exhibit”, my stash