Gifts for gifts

In my town there is an old building that once was a post office and courtroom. It all still looks as it did when it was used for those purposes; tall pillars hold up the outside frame, granite tile covers the floors, the individual numbered mail boxes all still intact. While maintaining the same look on the inside and outside, the beautiful building has since been transformed into an art center on the first floor, and on the second floor, a church. After a lunch at the cafe across the street, me + my mom + a visiting friend stepped inside to browse around the pottery studio.

I fingered some hand-thrown mugs and the artist who made them came over to me and we struck up a conversation. It’s not every day you get to talk to the artisans who create the treasures we love, but when you do- enjoy it and talk as long as you can. I was inspired by this man’s passion for slinging clay and using his hands. I was inspired by his desire to create beauty and seek fulfillment in life through cooking, gardening, beekeeping, and pottery instead of computer science (his words). We talked about the creative life and how much more enriching it is to the essence of who you are to create beauty instead of settling in the rut of a career you hate.

Then the conversation turned to other gifts of creativity, such as singing- and, long story short, me + my mom + a friend sang one verse of a hymn in three part harmony for him, and in exchange he handed me one of his favorite mugs. A gift for a gift.

Stepping out of the studio I pondered how good it is to give your gifts away. This momentary glimpse into this artist’s work inspired me enough to actually sing in his studio; three voices raised, mingled as one around the room, our voices filling the spaces around the pots and vases and sculptures and mugs and jars and bowls. The craft of our song meeting the craft of hands, exchanging the two for the furthering of beauty in these small corners of our life.

I say to myself to pursue beauty and seek extraordinary moments out of the ordinary, but I don’t always walk into pottery studios expecting to exchange a creative gift for another. When it happens, however, it is more than inspiring.

Share & give. Make & create, and give it away. The world, maybe only 4 people at a time, will be more beautiful for it.

Don’t you ever wonder why
In spite of all that’s wrong here
There’s still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds? –Andrew Peterson

p.s. i purchased another mug from the gallery, because if an individual has the courage & vivacity to pursue creativity as his livelihood, you bet I’m going to support that endeavor. now i have a gift to pass on from this gift-giving!

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One thought on “Gifts for gifts

  1. Beautiful post! I love mugs, so when I saw them in your photo I came to read your post. Exchanging creativity is wonderful. Recently I participated in a postcard swap. It was so good create an art piece and sent to someone that I’ve never seen before, and of course receive lovely ones back.

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