A Gift Recognized
A specific childhood memory of mine is my grandma and grandpa saying, “Brigid, you really have a gift.” They had just bought me a huge notebook filled with large, blank sheets of paper (which, for me, garnered feelings equivalent to running in a wide-open field or trotting through freshly fallen snow). My grandparents never let me forget how much I loved drawing and painting, two skills which they’ve helped cultivate by constantly purchasing me art supplies and gracefully complementing my most recent works.
Perhaps in an attempt to remain humble, I have always let the idea that I was in any way “gifted” with artistic skill go in one ear and out the other. Still, this has never stopped me from adoring an empty canvas, new watercolor set, or the smell of freshly sharpened pencils.
My father is often my partner in crime during my art sessions. I swear one of his many life dreams is to move to a distant city and travel with a collapsible easel by his side. Anytime I laid out my watercolors or pens he would be working along, right there next to me.
Due to my perceptive nature and tendency to over-analyze things, I always sensed he was unsatisfied with his work. My dad often claimed his drawings were too squished and mine were somehow “better.” This is all to say I always felt as if I was serving as a channel for him to finally accomplish his dream of becoming a successful artist.
More recently, however, my dad has found a passion for poetry. His skills are unrivaled by anyone I’ve ever seen that wasn’t old, dead, or required to be read for high school English class. More importantly, he now recognizes poetry as his avenue for art…
You see, my dad understands that he is an artist… just not in the way he originally planned.
AP: A Channel for Expression
Being involved with the Advocacy Project over the last two months has introduced me to two other forms of art: embroidery and quilting. I assisted with the Sister Artists auction in June and have become acquainted with various quilt projects (in hopes to jump-start the creation of a quilt catalogue for AP).
One captivating thing about these quilts is how varied they are. Some are from Latin America in Belize and Peru, others from Africa in Mali and Kenya… Some are stitched, others painted… Some are about animals, others about sexual assault…
But what is truly captivating is how they display the ability for humans to tell their stories through art.
What Would Life Be Without Art?
Before arriving at AP I was greatly unfamiliar with quilting and embroidery. Yet, amidst my exploration for an internship this past spring, I discovered and was drawn to the AP website’s “Quilts” tab. Using art to not only share stories but allow others to work through difficult emotions was something my inward “gift” of art deeply connected with.
Art can be a product of trauma. I may ignorantly say I’ve never been affected by any extremely traumatic events, but I do know that art has always been, and will continue to be, a large part of my life (whether it be in the form of music, drawing, writing, dancing, theater, or quilting). After all, in a world that is confusing, sad, and lately very unhappy, can’t we all just enjoy the joy and solace that art brings, whatever form it’s in.
And remember… Just as my dad figured out, to be an artist does not mean you have to be “good” at drawing… only open to trying something new!
Posted By Brigid Smith
Posted Jul 30th, 2020