Art has always been a dirty word to me. The minute taking art class was optional in school, I opted out. The extent of my ability to draw is limited to a slightly lop-sided 3D square. Vanishing point? Heard the term; have no ability to make it happen. Perspective? Psssshhht. My only perspective is being the person in the art gallery staring at the trompe l'oeil painting and wondering how on EARTH someone can use paint (or colored pencils, or crayons, or whatever) and make something look so REAL. I recently stumbled upon this cross-stitching site and about fell over backward. I'm pondering a couple of them for my recently redecorated bedroom.
However, that site also gave me a new perspective on what might be considered 'art.'
I love to cross-stitch. When the kids were infants, I cross-stitched each of them a little picture with their names and date and time of birth. They hung in the nursery over the crib of each child, and I still have the works carefully preserved in the 'forever drawer' of each kid. (Things like school awards, swimming ribbons, tiny toddler eyeglasses, baby books, and other mementos go in this drawer, and each kid sometimes likes to go through his or her drawer just to see what they've forgotten. I also have letters to the children tucked away in there.) When M1 got a bit older, I found a free dragon pattern online and designed a cross-stitch that reads, "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." The free dragon design went on the right side of the words, and this work still hangs over his bed, in between his mounted glow-in-the-dark dragon puzzles and his shelves of ceramic dragons (and below the dragon wallpaper border). M2 got a bit older, and I cross-stitched a cute little image of a cat and a mouse all dressed up in English finery riding in a hot-air balloon. I have a common dinner prayer stitched and hanging in my dining room.
Even with all the time and effort and love I've put into these works, I've never considered them art. They're just things I did, little tidbits to bring the hominess into my home. They're nothing spectacular.
But then again, maybe they are. Maybe art is more than I've given it credit for.
M2's bedspread had been getting pretty ragged-looking recently. It originally had bows at each corner; those had been torn off, either by cats or (usually) by the girl herself. It was originally white; my latest critical assessment labeled it 'dingy gray with splotches of I don't want to know but suspect marker.' Washing wasn't helping, and there were a few spots where the material was nearly worn through.
It was time for a new bedspread.
Oz and I poked around online to see what we could find that would fit M2's personality but still complement the colors in her room, which were painted to match this now-worn-looking bedspread. Thankfully pink and green are still an easy duo to find in girls' bedrooms. M2 picked out a cute quilt in the end. It's white again, but minus the tulle covering and thus easier to spot-treat and wash, and has little pink/red rosebuds and greenery over it.
When I was washing this bedspread and removing the old one from her room, I pointed out the cat-and-mouse cross-stitch over her chest of drawers.
"Do you think you're getting too old for that?"
"Would you like me to stitch something else?"
Part of me thought she'd say no. This is the girl, after all, who has a very unique taste in art and who is insistent that she learn how to use the acrylic paints that came with her Christmas art set (this will be another post, because Art-o-phobic mom + Art-o-phile daughter will probably equal Acrylic Paint Disaster). But she didn't. She wanted to know what I had in mind. I pulled out this pattern from a design book that I own, and she loved it. Wanted me to make it for her. And a little part of me swelled up with happiness. I asked M1 if he wanted to take down his dragon (and his puzzles), and he said no.
I might just be hormonal, and I may never make anything unique or amazing, but if my children will hang my cross-stitching on their walls, then I don't care if I can't draw a circle. The art is in making my children happy, and that's all that matters.