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09 November 2007

Let's make art together, you and I

Artist_trading_card"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso

Dang. Sometimes an email starts a revolution. Sometimes a spark is all that is needed for a full-fledged conflagration (I love that word) to occur, flame up, heat the air around us.

Donna gifted me (and you) with an Artist Trading Card based on one of my recent posts, and I loved it. I mean, I really loved it.

Several years ago, after finishing a class at the Penland School of Crafts here in the wild hills of North Carolina, the Significant Class During Which I Had a Huge Revelation, there was an auction of work from students and faculty who were in my session. Well-dressed city folk also drove in for the event, since the quality of craftsmanship at Penland is well known. They had the look of people who bought art for investment's sake, though I could have been wrong about that. Not that there's anything wrong with investing in art, but I really do quite enjoy the person with nothing but loose change in their pockets who pulls it all out on the counter and starts counting pennies because they've found a small piece of art that they absolutely can't breathe without, and the well-dressed cocktail party people who appeared at Penland that evening didn't seem to have that hunger or gasping for air at the very beauty and meaning of it.

So, the auction progressed (you can get a sense of auctions like it at the very end of this wonderful video about Penland). I had my little eye on something that the photography class had made as a group. It was an unusual deck of playing cards they had created and placed in a little box they had made, each card faced with one of their photographs--not glued on, but printed on.They had worked in the studio next to mine that session, so I had gotten to know some of them. I thought the little card set was spectacular. I couldn't stop touching it, and since I have a Big Thing for Boxes, Especially Small Ones, well. I needed it. I wanted it. I had to have it. I would feel lost without it. I would ache for it. You get the picture?

Suddenly, it was on the block. My heart leapt up. My face got hot. I soon found myself bidding against a small whiff of a woman sitting a few rows in front of me to the left in an auspicious hat. Sure, there were other people bidding at first, but she and I started gnawing the same bone and left everyone else mute and very still in their seats. Mind you, the metaphor I used earlier of the person counting pennies wasn't actually a metaphor as much as a real, true-to-life illustration of my reality, so I didn't have the money to take her on--but the higher the bidding got, the more determined I was that those cards deserved better than her.

They are beautiful cards. I take them out every so often just to touch them.

And so, when Donna sent the Artist Trading Card she had created, I started imagining a whole set of them, 37days trading cards with the challenges on them, artfully interpreted, maybe in a little handmade box that I could open each morning and pick out one to carry that day in my back pocket with my index cards or in my wallet with my Philip Glass Pocket Shrine. I started imagining other readers of 37days creating 37days cards, each their own interpretation of what these words and challenges mean. And then as I drove to Ingles to buy cat food and toilet paper and tiny calorie-free Reese's Cups, I started imagining the book version of 37days illustrated by readers of 37days, each creating an Artist Trading Card to express one of the 37 essays that will be in the book, to introduce the essay.

I emailed the publisher from the parking lot of Ingles. She loved the idea.

What a wonderful thought--that we could work on this book together, you and I. Come play, won't you?

We're off and running and it's a fast train we're on. If you would like to help create art for the book (and for this luscious set of trading cards that I think we all need to collaborate on and make and enjoy and touch each morning before we get on our Schwinn to go to work), more information is here (PDF). And remember, we are all artists. Don't exclude yourself from this process because you're "not really an artist." We all are.

[Donna, thanks again. Not just for that card, but for much more--for energy and passion and engagement, and for waking me up.]

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You just come up with the best idea's Patti...I'm in on this one for sure!

What an absolutely fabulous idea! You'll be getting an email from me indicating my interest, for sure, and I've already sent an email to a friend who reads your blog to be sure to read today's entry, as she's a wonderful artist. You've got a great blog and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to even *try* to be involved in your book. Thanks for the open call!

Oh, this makes me SO HAPPY! You know why, right? Because now you HAVE to call the book "37 Days"...right?! How can it be illustrated with cards 1 through 37 and be called anything else?! You know you're right at the top of my blogging heap (okay, that doesn't sound right) but all love aside, I'd have no idea how to create one of those. And I can hold hands and be "Everyone's an artist" Kumbaya'd to death...I'm still not THAT kind of artist. :) (And that's okay, I do lots of other things well and creatively.) So I'm just going to sit here and watch this process unfold with a goofy grin of jubilation on my face and wait (semi-patiently) for the moment when I can hold your book and cards in my hands. But I will ask this...can I be part of your "blogging book tour?" ;)

Kate and Cindy - thanks so much for your interest! And please do pass the word along to other artists....

Marilyn - you really made me laugh! (And I hope you knew the Schwinn reference was for you) If you'll 'splain what a "blogging book tour" is, you can definitely be part of it!

I'm in, Patti! What a cool idea.

I'll also email you.

It's what we did for Patry when her novel was published last Spring...see her post here:

http://tinyurl.com/2wdy8y

Basically it's 'house parties'...but instead of musicians, it's authors. Patry's publisher sent her out for readings at bookstores, but her tour was augmented by parties we threw for her in homes. Then, of course, there's the virtual kind of blogging book tour...where a series of bloggers interviews and promotes the book...and I'd most certainly be happy to do that, too.

P.S. When I saw "Schwinn," my ego blared, "Hey, I think that reference might be for ME!"...until that other voice in my head said, "Shut up, you nimwit and turn off that spotlight..." ;)

My eyes are welling up with tears of joy... for you, for this idea, and for all the folks whose hearts are beating faster as they imagine themselves participants in this ensuing magic.

beautiful.

with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart, that is all that i can say.

I am so incredibly flattered and humbled that what began as a little reminder to myself has blossomed into this wonderful project. Count me in, Patti.

I'd be happy to be part of a blogging book tour, whether my ATCs are chosen or not. I love this blog, even though I don't comment often. I read it just about every day, often nodding my head at something you have said. I want black and white cookies, too!

Donna is inspirational to many of us in every digital scrapbooking forum she belongs - she shared her ATC with us at Digital Art Quirks, and it was unanimous... we love it. :)

I'd love to be part of this too, Patti - a little bit of Aussie art with 'eart... it will be an international collection :-)

What an inspiration you are..

Patti - I just discovered you today . . . and I am impressed with your journey, your vision, and now your book. I am intrigued, and would like to make a contribution to the project. I'll email you! Nina

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