Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shattered Plates

My first "career" out of college was a job sculpting at an art restoration company. Loved the job, the people and the art, but the money was hardly enough to survive, but that is besides the point (back to Jayne's theory of the demise of the creative class) One of the most interesting pieces that I remember working on was a Plaster of Paris circle with a child size hand print in the center. We all have one, or have made one in our lives, right? So why was this so interesting? It wasn't the work of art so much as the attachment the woman had to it that I just didn't understand. Why was this woman spending hundreds of dollars to get a piece of junk repaired? So often people would come in and before leaving their art they would ask if it was worth more than they were spending on the restoration. This woman didn't ask and she didn't need to, obviously she must not know what to do with her money is all I could think of while I was was gluing it all together and filling in the missing plaster with new. I was fixated on this woman. Clearly her son that made it must have died, that has got to be it. He could no longer make another hand print. But it wasn't. He was alive and in college.

A few weeks ago I realized I had become this woman. My kids and I spend hours doing art projects together, it's something that I love - explains why tonight at 10pm I was still cleaning paper mache glue off the kitchen walls and floor.

A few years ago I took the girls to a paint your own pottery studio and had them paint plates to their young specifications, which is to use as many colors available in the shop, which we were discouraged against since the people working there think brown is a tragedy. The girls finished up with a wonderful hand print in the center of each plate. The plates were so beautiful that we used them daily. But one day our little baby learned to take dishes out of the bottom rack of the dishwasher and the first one she grabbed and threw to the floor was my treasured hand print plate painted by my oldest daughter. I was devastated. It was at this moment that I finally understood the "crazy lady" that had her child's hand print restored for gobs of money. They are little for such a short time that we really need to hang onto these little treasures that they create. It took me a few hours or maybe days to realize that my memories of painting together are so much more valuable than the end product. I really have been able to get over the plate- although I can't throw away the pieces just yet. So who knows, maybe someday some new college grad is going to think the same of me, but just think how it will all change when she has her first child, or maybe not.

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