Things that pass through our hands..


A piece of the hand made rug in my room

“If my life is for rent, and I don’t learn to buy, I deserve nothing more than I get, and nothing I own is really mine…”
Dido’s song seems to have special meaning for me. I believe than none of us owns anything – that everything is rented, or on loan, for the duration of our lives and no more. And that has held true for me all my life – so much has passed through my hands, and gone on to God knows where – various possessions, some valuable and some not, homes, books and things I would have liked to held onto – but none were really mine and some even ended up at the bottom of the ocean, but that’s another story.
Everything we create with our hands, buy with our money or receive as a gift eventually passes on somewhere else, gets left behind as we move through life and beyond.
Today, as I spend hours creating art, I try not to think of this – after all, art is something you do in the moment and what happens to it eventually should not be your concern. I am sure nothing of mine will end up in museums, but I know that my family will treasure whatever is left.
No, I should not think of posterity, or even next week, when I am are creating art. I don’t own what I make, I work with the mind and the hands and the dreams that I was born with, and then move on to the next thing. It is the act of creation which is briefly mine, that I hold and possess until the thing is done.
But sometimes in my rummaging through garage sales, junk shops and other foraging grounds, I come across a piece of hand made art that was clearly made with love if not great skill.
One lies on my bedroom floor today – it us a hooked rug, not quite finished because long strings of yarn still hang from it. It shows the sun rising behind tall reeds, in wonderful autumn colours. I don’t know who made it, or why it came to be bundled into a box at the Salvation Army shop. But I brought it home, because the artist deserved to be honoured. Of course I do not own it, but I hope it continues to find loving custodians.
Little framed pictures of pressed flowers, home made dolls, handmade items of all kinds – I have come across many in my rummaging. The artists are all unknown – they were likely women like me who enjoyed arts and crafts and never thought of passing their work on to someone else, or even being remembered after the item left their hands. These things connect me to generations of women who loved to create something beautiful for no more than the joy of doing it.
We leave much behind us as we move on – most of it is lost, destroyed, never to surface again, but sometimes something waits for a new temporary custodian, and I like to think that someday, something of mine will turn up this way…except, of course, that it is not really mine, it is simply an expression of the creativity that makes this planet and all its creatures, plants and wonders hum.


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