When our ancestors descended from the trees millions of years ago and took an upright position, their hands were free for new uses. They perfected the overhand throw and engaged in making tools. This made them dangerous predators.
By devoting the hand to the more complex tasks of making artifacts, instruments and drawing on cave walls, brain capacity increased. Drawings became stories. Music, song and dance were born. The use of hands, language and visualization all evolved interdependently and the individual started to form.
Human behavior is profoundly influenced by these learned skills of the past which go a long way to define who we are today. Our individual biological nature or ‘who we are’ is who we were. Genetically we carry the genes of everyone who came before us and with that, the ability to discover our own unique predisposition for the need to create.
But we live in a consumer oriented culture driven by technology. Why bother to encourage labor intensive, demanding and often un-marketable visual arts, crafts, wearables, music, performance arts and literature?
Because those of us who use our hands, language and cognition to create do so as an antidote to this very technology which alienates us from society. Making clay vessels, creating art to wear, penning poems, blending colors on canvas, composing concertos, weaving, dancing, singing, photographing and filming - all of these, validate who we are! Our self-expression gives us meaning. It is a personally rewarding passion - a legitimate way of resisting a culture of bigger, faster and right away.
Creativity communicates. The maker's mark, though not always evident, forms a shadow of the work itself. It tells us a skillful, caring person has been there. The attitude of a time card puncher is never present when someone is driven to do something well. The work becomes endowed with a powerful emotional charge and a sense of sincerity which is instantly felt by others. More often than I like to admit, contemporary society ridicules the importance of feelings and does not particularly value the passion exuded by the creative spirit or their work.
But those who create have chosen a lifestyle which goes against the grain. Learning to embrace all that it entails, then be available for others embarking on the same journey is my charge. As both an educator and artist, I am intent on protecting, nurturing and celebrating the creative spirit and insuring it will never become obsolete.