Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fruits of Your Labor

I wouldn't call myself an artist - I wouldn't be so bold -  but I am and always have been creative. I come from a long line of craftsmen and women, on both sides of my family. In most cases, creativity came out of necessity. Having to sew one's own clothes for school, building and fixing household items, growing and canning one's own food was simply a fact of life for hardworking immigrants in the Midwest. The only time you called an electrician or a plumber was when your skills had reached their limit, and to progress any further would mean risking 1. property damage, or 2. an arm or a leg - literally.
My own creativity is borne less of necessity, and more of that itch, that little voice inside you that sees the price tag at the store, looks at the object, whatever it may be (CD shelves? A floral wrap-around skirt? Mario Batali Artichoke and Mushroom Marinara Sauce?) and says, "I can make that!"
And by the time you've bought raw materials, tools and spent hours and hours making said object, you figure it would have been less expensive to just buy it in the store anyway.

But where's the satisfaction in that?

Through the years, I've learned to build things, cook and sew. And I like to give things that I've made as gifts - baby shower quilts, handbags for birthdays. Most recipients of these lovingly made items realize the time, effort and cost involved in making them, and are grateful. It warms my heart to share something with a friend that has come from my soul. On the rare occasion, I have given a handmade item to someone who doesn't quite know how to respond. It doesn't have a designer label, or a price tag, and it wasn't one of the hand-picked, color-coordinated objects on the gift registry. I shudder at the thought, but I have a feeling a quilt or two bearing my mark have ended up on the curb, destined for the thrift store. At any rate, I hope somebody somewhere is being kept warm on account of me and my sewing machine.
But selling horses is a different story.

Seeing the happiness of Jill, Siofra's new owner, and hearing from Arthur's new owner, Erika, gives me such a wonderful feeling, I can't describe it. It must be something in the way a nurse feels, handing a mom her newborn baby. Maybe not. But all I know is, the pain of letting my horses go was erased by the joy of knowing that they are where they belong.

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