Monday, August 2, 2010

Arts and Crafts of Coker Creek

I'm an artist wanna be, which means that I'd love to be able to produce beautiful measures of music, dances that delight, and paintings that inspire, but these talents weren't given to me. I so admire passion channeled into action, especially into artistic endeavors, that I absolutely love to be around creative people and watch them while they work.

I've dreamed, since we lived in New Orleans, of living in an artists' colony where I could, perhaps, keep myself busy writing or cooking while basking in the creative spirit all around me. Artistic inspiration is in the Coker Creek air; many people who move here are artists in bloom. I think we're now getting close to actualizing an artists' colony.

Stephanie, the gal who recently bought Coker Creek Gallery, is planning to create an incubator-style environment in conjunction with her retail space. Her vision includes having those whose art she represents work out in the open where they can be observed. What a wonderful addition to our other Appalachian attractions this would be!

I was privileged to meet a group of ladies last week-end who are putting their artistry into action making quilts for critically ill children. Once a month, the ladies with Quilts For Kids haul their sewing machines, scissors, and ironing boards over to the Ruritan building and create a sewing bee. The kaleidoscopes of patterns and colors in the quilts were a delight to behold; I'm sure many a child finds a reason to smile when presented with the gifts of love from these ladies.

So much of the creative process seems to require silence and solitude, and I'm a lot loud because I channel my passions into prose, poetry and prattle. On the bayou, there was nothing we wouldn't discuss with lots of laughter and as many tears. I sometimes need a good wet-my-pants belly laugh, a righteous rant, or a soul-splitting cry, and good church ladies don't seem to be comfortable with this brand of unedited emotion.

What's a woman raised with a bunch of boys to do? This is the Bible Belt, and I know that one of the quilters is a pastor. I do have the problem of being a bit too outspoken and baudy for small town tastes. It's so hard to find women of wicked wit;I don't fit in for long with "ladies who lunch," or ladies of any kind. I simply can't act like a lady for more than a few minutes without exploding. My loose lips can sink relationships; and in a small town, like in a family, it's easy to become a pariah.

The quilting queens looked like a lively bunch, and they did have snacks setting near some sewing machines. Somebody's got to feed the troops, and the Ruritan building has a full kitchen; so, maybe I could cook for these crafters. That ought to keep me quiet enough that they'll let me watch them while they work.