Monday, June 8, 2009

The Craftsman

My grandmother was an artist, though if you asked her she would bargain for a different title. She was fond of needlepoint and made many a cushion in her church. She was a member of her garden club and was always arranging flowers. At Christmastime she would whirl around our house with a spool of wire, hiding our bannisters behind red velvet bows. She was fond of gnomes, and kept a large supply of Fimo modeling clay around for sculpting. She left the wood walls in her bathroom bare so that she could draw caricatures around the natural knots in the wood.  She even went to art school. Still, my grandmother would never call herself an artist. She considered herself a "craftsman". My brother once asked her what the difference was, she responded "a craftsman is a person who enjoys craft, an artist is a craftsperson with something to say". Funny, I don't remember my grandmother ever being without something to say. 
Perhaps my grandmother associated artists with radicals, and her desire for country club social compatibility prevented her from using the title. Maybe she associated "women with something to say" with the bra burning Gloria Steinhem types of her children's generation. Or perhaps she never learned that she could define herself. Maybe she was waiting for somebody to vote her in to the artist club, some magic art authority to tap her on the nose with a wand and say "you my dear, are an artist. You may now refer to yourself as such". 

Christina has a friend who worked in an art gallery. One day the man noticed a crowd of people had gathered around a crumpled up piece of paper on the floor, they were discussing the meaning of the paper and the artists intention in putting it there. The man, noticing that it was nothing more than a flier that had been thrown on the floor, picked up the piece of trash and threw it in the garbage. The crowd quickly realized that they had been appreciating a piece of paper, and dispersed back to the walls. 

Take the liberty to find meaning wherever meaning finds you. Appreciate the pieces of paper, the sculpted gnomes, the creamy dressings, the velvet bows, the intricate drawings, and the wonderful artists in your life. 

The dressing: 
3 small cloves extra spicy purple garlic
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup whole yogurt
1 slice red onion
1 tsp salad vinegar
1 handful dill
5-6 leaves mint
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
blend all ingredients in a mini Cuisinart

Wash and dice 2-3 cups fresh farmers market spinach. While rinsing, notice how it smells like fresh cut grass and recall swinging your legs from a swing set: that feeling of leaning back and losing yourself in the blue and white sky. 
Add 1-2 cups fresh local snap peas. Remember how you used to eat them out of the carton the minute your mom got home from the store. 
Add 2-3 cups diced purple cabbage.
Add 1/2 an English cucumber diced
garnish with avocado drizzled with lemon juice

Christina's vote: "This salad filled my palate with beautiful color"

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