Sunday, December 19, 2010

making marks, leaving traces

saturday walk
i know about leave no trace. but even a snail* leaves a trace. i will. a thread that says i was here. and then it will be gone. so the thing is, i should mind every mark i make as they go out into the world? do i? of course not.
carelessness?
kid knot, tire swing
many of my marks are made with fiber. of course. i wish, often i wish i could make my work in clay. it's not meant to be, for though i love clay quite madly, i cannot bear working with it as it dries. i am also a bit crazy about print making, the wonderful expressive lines that are possible. i have almost no idea how to make a print. it's those scores of marks on the de-bossed (is that the right word) paper that move me.
mill window, tibetan mould, grandfather maple
so i think often of mark making; and see marks, lines, shapes and colors that others might see as things, not so me. 
a friend points out something and i see the whole composition, the lines, the space, the colors, not the thing itself. this is very disconcerting at times. my children make lines, ian draws and draws, and hannah knits and she has a calligraphic hand, she makes beautiful letters. a joke in my family came from my dad, who asked me if i could study penmanship in college, because my handwriting was so poor.
 
memory dazzles for ian and hannah
why make art? why make anything?  i will argue that making is essential. it is making that keeps me human. there will come a day, perhaps, when this is no longer my great passion, the need to make. but not yet.
this barn was made, twice. it has been repurposed. it may be again.
(rerepurposed?)
this loft held many bales of hay, upon a time. 
it holds memory now.

*a must: the sound of a wild snail eating by elisabeth tova bailey

12 comments:

mjc said...

Thanks, Velma - we've been thinking along similar lines...I have been thinking about how the making is essential for me and wondering about the rest. I wish you a season of blissful making and contented living.

Velma said...

oh, melissa, i wonder a lot about the rest, too.

onesmallstitch said...

thanks for putting it into words. I've been making things since childhood. For a long time the making was a refuge in times of stress, now it has become life itself.

claire said...

I think I've been over-complicating things. You put the importance of making so simply. Thank you.

aimee said...

i love all the marks and traces you leave. i loved the snail book and guess what? my sister comes over in a little bit w/her husband for our holiday gathering since they will be in sweden for the actual days - that book is waiting for her as a gift so she can read english in sweden :)

also, i LOVE your handwriting!! but the story is funny. ben noted my own "bad" handwriting but i have given up a while ago trying to send only missives to afghanistan that could be read by a machine. it's just no fun. i like my "messy" mark.

Velma said...

a refuge, and life itself. yes. it's simple, and it is itself. messy and confusing and beautiful.

ronnie said...

i love the snowy marks.... as only a girl with no snow in her life could I suppose!

and your arty comments too velma... as only a fellow traveller can I suspect...

ahhh but as for handwriting - well given I was the worst in my class at handwriting, I decided that I'd become a calligrapher...... proof perhaps the creative streak also can bring out the masochist in some of us!

iNdi@na said...

devil finds work for idle hands [best muttered with strong Cornish accent for full effect, unless of course you're from the West Country in which case choose something that sounds a little more foreign!]
so best keep em occupied...
although walking on hands to make snowtrails could be a tad tricky

Velma said...

now she brings the devil into it!...wonder what his handwriting is like?

Deb G said...

I'm sure the devil's handwriting is very tidy since he does a lot of contract work....

I read this post last night, started a couple comments, and kept erasing them 'cause it just wasn't quite what I wanted to say. I'm thinking about families...

Velma said...

and so am i, especially the families we create.

Judy Martin said...

Making is essential. Love that sentiment.

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