Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Desire to Create

During our spring break this year a teacher friend and I headed off to Washington DC.  We spent our time doing the usual teacher stuff--wandering around museums, visiting the Ford Theatre and the Library of Congress.  And, of course, eating and trying new wines.  If you know any teachers, you know that the last one is probably the most important. 
The museums were fun, probably because we weren't there with a bunch of antsy school kids who all needed to use the bathroom at the same time and no one was spilling their box of juice all over a very important national display.
 No, this time we were by ourselves and could wander about having only to keep track of each other.  This is no small thing for a teacher.
One of my favorite museums was the American Art Museum.  And my favorite part of that was their folk art collection. 
 I know that if you have been to any of the Smithsonian museums that there are signs all over the place saying "No Picture Taking Allowed."  But before I SAW the signs, I asked the guard if I could take pictures and he said to go ahead.  It is also very important for teachers to follow the rules. 
I love folk art.  I especially love folk art done by people with no art training.  People who have a burning desire to make their lives more beautiful.....who are driven to create using the things they have at hand.  I love the quote from this artist:

 And the carved animals that he created:

 This one especially touched my heart.  The artist was a woman who was confined to a state hospital.  Her desire to create beauty led her to embroider this state-issued hospital gown

As you can see, she covered every square inch of the gown.  I can only wish that it brought her joy and hope in what had to be horrible circumstances.


  1. Wow! That gown is amazing...and humbling. What beauty out of challenge! The animals are very cool, too. I love folk art. That quote is perfect. Thanks for the tour. Nice that you could see the sites without the kiddos! I teach too, so I really understand!

  2. Hi Debra,
    I'm trying to leave a comment and blogger won't let me so this a trial to see if it goes through!
    Cathy G

  3. Okay, I see that comment made it okay! I think we need to talk about all these quilts and things left to us by our grandmother's! I am in the same predicament! I have stored them for so many years now. I am wondering why I keep hanging on to these things if I don't even use them or have them out to enjoy. I think maybe I need counseling!
    Your idea for storing them in the kitchen cupboards sounds neat but I would have to throw out a lot of kitchen stuff! LOL!
    Do you have an email address you'd care to share?
    Also I enjoyed this post on your museum visit! Smithsonian's are the best and I wished I lived closer to one! Oh the inspiration one derives! Love the folk art dearly!
    Cathy G

  4. The embroidered gown is truly inspirational. One would like to believe that when that kind of desire is there, something nicer than the gown could be provided to her. However, I guess the true beauty is the fact that something so institutional could be made to look so beautiful.

  5. You fixed it! Here I am....
    Inspirational pictures, thank you.

  6. hi debra :)

    i can't contact you via your blog, please drop me a line!

    june's birthday is coming soon....shhhh.....pls delete this comment :)

    matzekatze from bye bye pie