Part Four of My Art Colony along US 68
Thursday, March 17, 2011
But this retreat was, in part, about what we can control. We can control the work of our hands. We began by considering the theology of beauty. This was very exciting for me. What does God love? This was a Christian-based retreat, which I appreciated because, frankly, it seems to me that the Christian faith is rather weak in its concern for the earth. So, it was good to hear an argument for Christian concern for our planet (the Psalms are filled with beautiful praise of the earth and universe). But you could also ask, what does nature love? We considered that God/nature loves: order, interdependence, harmony, unity and diversity. We are naturally attracted to the beauty of truth and goodness; and here it was pointed out that theologians and scientists are equally concerned with this beauty of truth.This certainly rang true for me, as I have often heard my mathematician husband speak of elegant proofs. Further, justice is beauty. Well, that struck me. On January 8th, when I wrote my "Seeing Beauty" blog, I was struggling to put words to how appreciating beauty prevented injustice; but here it was stated clearly: beauty is justice. So we discussed these elements of beauty and how they were "made flesh" through structure, design, form, movement, music, poetry and matter.
In the afternoon, we considered how we can apply principles of beauty to what we make as human beings. Here are some of the design principles we talked about:
Design should reflect and incorporate:
* love of diversity
* interdependence and interconnectedness
* love and respect for all members of the community
* co-operation with the natural order
* no waste
We can apply these elements to everything we create so that we can proclaim a gospel with the work of our hands that is in alignment with the world in which we live. This can make a difference in how we live in the world. It was pointed out that we alter the world just by living in it; and perfection is not possible. Some things we can not affect, like the movement of tectonic plates. But humbly doing the work of compassionate human beings is sufficient.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I first learned about the Guild from Jo-Lynn, whose family owns the furniture store in Carlisle where we purchased the world's most comfortable couch. When I showed up, much of the heavy lifting had already taken place. Regina had dreamed of such an organization for a long time. Brad (of fossil art fame) and Larry (who makes the most beautiful walking sticks) were interested in organizing to support their activities with local festivals. Cate wanted to make sure there were artistic opportunities in Carlisle. So the scene is one, where many folks were simultaneously dreaming the same dream. The result is an organization with a lot of "parents" which fulfills a broad spectrum of desires.
A big breakthrough came when Dr. Tamaran generously offered a space for the Guild to call home. Juanita came up with the name for our place: The Corner Studio. Which is perfect because it sits catty-cornered to the Courthouse Square which gives the Guild its name. Juanita started teaching Bob Ross classes and a whole slew of people started painting. They still are! Every Tuesday, Juanita, Larry and Carol are at the Studio painting and all are welcome to join them. Carol keeps us all informed about the guild and is the backbone of our organization (and many others in Carlisle!) In the summer, Louise teaches an art class for children, which is very popular.
But here is what bedazzles me the most. Larry, our president, single-handedly started a student art show--just because he thought it should exist! He built floor easels (lots!) and designed table easels to show rows of student art. He contacted all the schools in the region and picked up the art work. Larry organized with Blue Licks State Resort Park to exhibit the work. The result is an astounding art exhibit featuring the work of young people--work we would not know about or enjoy--if Larry had not created this opportunity for the students and the public. Once again, this year the exhibit will be held in mid-April.
Like an art colony, the Courthouse Square Arts Guild is the result of many people dreaming for something to exist and then working hard to make it happen. There is a bit of serendipity involved, too, which I am realizing more and more as I tell you about my art colony along US 68.
For more information about the Courthouse Square Arts Guild, please see the website (thank you, Derek): csag.info
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I was at my studio at Carnico and took a break to walk Carly, the dog. It was a short walk, I just walked up the hill and down toward the point, and there were Jim and Ottis. Ottis had brought a painting for Jim to look at. Jim restores art as well as doing some framing and making his own original art. The painting was one that Ottis had collected when he bought art to sell in his furniture store. Ottis is an amazing artist himself; the most experimental artist I know. It is very liberating to be around him and his work! Hmmm, I thought, maybe I do live in an art colony. Jim's wife Katie is a first-rate needle artist and she has recently taken up weaving on an impressive loom. Between their home/studio and mine, is the home/studio of Derek, the mastermind designer of my website: http://www.kathyreesjohnson.com/. I don't have to travel far to have paintings framed or to have a chat with my website guru! Then a couple of coves over is Brad, who worked hard with others to start the Courthouse Square Arts Guild in nearby Carlisle. Brad is a fossil artist! He finds a lot of fossils along US 68 and creates some solid compositions with his found treasures. March lives down another point and she makes gourd art, using Native American techniques. Across the lake is Kay, who exudes creativity in her dress and in her collage work. Her husband Raymond, makes fine furniture in an amazing workshop with a view like you wouldn't believe. No doubt, I am leaving many people out--but I'll get to know them, as Brad is planning an Art of Carnico exhibit. This is just Part I. Finding our place on Lake Carnico has made possible my archipelago-like art colony. I want to tell the story of all these islands of creativity that enrich my artist's life.