Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Makes an Artist of Us All

I've been enjoying a variety of Facebook and blog posts, and I've been thinking about how the Advent/Christmas seasons makes us all artists.  This time period brings out our creative sides like few others.  I've seen a variety of wreaths and ornaments.  I've seen houses decorated--no house decorated in quite the same way.  I've seen photos, both alone and in collages.  I've drooled over the recipes that people are cooking.  I've seen pictures of people who would claim that they're not creative--but their gingerbread people/house creations show that they are.

Yes this season brings out inner artists like no other.  I find myself intrigued the most by people who would not claim that title for themselves.  And yet, for several weeks a year, they claim their artist selves with little thought that they are not entitled to do the art forms that they love.

Part of it is that we may not think that we're creating art.  It's a fruitcake, after all, not an painting.  Yet some of us are creating fruitcakes from recipes that have been in the family for generations and centuries--it's a tradition as venerable as some of those in the field of painting.

I am biased, I will admit.  I don't often spend time thinking about the dichotomy between traditional "high art" and "low art" or "crafts."  I think that those labels have often been used to denigrate and to keep people in their place--and those people labeled "crafters" and not "artists" are often minorities and women.

What would happen if we claimed our creativity the other 11 months a year?

I predict that our individual worlds--and thus, the larger world--would be transformed.

I realize the impediments to my vision of ramped up creativity throughout the year and not just at Christmas.  I've just made the last full-butterfat baked good for awhile--I need to start being careful or I'll weigh 30 more pounds next year.

But what if I used the same creativity when it came to making salads?

I know that Christmas decorations are special because we only see them once a year.  I'd like something similar, though, for other holidays.  We've seen our creative neighbors adopt Halloween with a similar fierceness.  Could we do the same for other holidays?

I also wonder if our whir of creativity at Christmas comes at the expense of our other art forms.  Are we making ornaments when we'd rather be making shadowboxes of a different nature?  Do we make ornaments or tableaux out of our mangers and Christmas villages because we feel we're allowed to do that?

What would happen if we gave ourselves permission to explore other art forms in a similar way?  What would happen if we worried less about doing art correctly and just found the joy in doing art in any form that delights us?

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