Have you ever fallen flat on your face? And, I don’t mean figuratively – I mean literally. Well, I did just recently and let me tell you it was not a pleasant experience. I still have the battle scar and bruises to prove it! But everything about the experience was not unpleasant because by nature I choose to see the good in even unpleasant situations. (At another time and in a different place, I’ll share my “good” observations with you.)
As for now, you are likely wondering…what does this have to do with Black Belt Treasures? Well, I have reflected on my experience and I have found some connection to the artists we represent:
First of all, falling on your face, while not pleasant, is not such a bad thing in the long run, IF the experience results in a new perspective on life. Most artists will attest to having painted over the first layer of paint on a canvas, trashed their first, second, or third attempt at creating a piece, or simply have started over before finally creating a masterpiece! We have some of those masterpieces at Black Belt Treasures awaiting a place in your home or office. And, when you begin to look at those pieces through the perspective of the artist’s attempt to bring to perfection their techniques and interpretation, you begin to better grasp the value of the piece instead of simply seeing it as something to buy. It becomes for you a masterpiece as you recognize that this amazingly, talented artist-creator has journeyed from his/her “flat on your face” experience to a new level of artistic expression which could have only been created out of their unique life experiences.
Secondly, bruises are a natural part of life. You may prefer to avoid the hurtful experience that lead to the bruising but ultimately, it is through those experiences that our lives take on vibrancy. Have you ever noticed the beautiful color palette of most bruises? The array of color is simply amazing – red, purple, blue, pink, yellow, green, etc. And the designs within the bruises can be described with adjectives like unique, ever-changing, growing, shrinking, bold, and subtle. The same is true with artists regardless of their medium. Not only do they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors but they create works distinctively their own.
I think of Charlie Lucas, the “Tin Man,” from Selma – an amazing man with creativity oozing from every fiber of his being. He once told me he sleeps in “sections” and explained that his mind wakes him up demanding that he MUST get up and create. For some who look at Charlie’s work, they can only see the pieces of “junk” he has used to create the object. But for others, like me, the amazing creativity of taking an object from someone’s trash heap, weaving it together with other objects, and transforming it into a masterpiece – well that is just phenomenal!
And lastly, just like good things can come from life’s unexpected events, an artist’s masterpiece often is created unpredictably. One of our quilters, Dorothy Woods, from Montgomery has shared how the fabrics she uses dictate the design of her quilts. She may start a quilt with one vision only to have it change as she pieces the fabrics together.
And have you ever watched a potter begin with a lump of clay on the wheel? As the potter’s hands forms the clay into one shape, the clay takes on a life of its own, often in a completely different direction than the potter expects with the end result being an object of equal or greater beauty.
Or, what about an author, like K. T. Archer (The Silver Spoon and Kismet) who has said that her characters often dictate how the story line will move – sometimes resulting in a completely different story line than she originally anticipated.
As in life, art is a “journey not a destination”. It is with great pleasure that we, at Black Belt Treasures, travel on the journey with many, many talented artists. Each day we have the privilege of enjoying the masterpieces they have created which quite often were influenced by the artist’s ”falling on your face” experiences. We invite you to join us on this journey and bask in the beauty of the world of art created by artists and craftsmen from Alabama’s Black Belt region.