To My Artist


She told the ceramics teacher that she was the only artist in the family.

The teacher seemed to need confirmation of this, and asked me at pickup, "are you an artist?"

I hesitated, not really knowing how to answer. I said, "well, once upon a time I was an art historian." She wanted to know all about this.

Then I tentatively said, "and I knit."

"Well, it's all interrelated," she said. I said that I thought so, too.

On some level I was surprised and disappointed by O.'s answer. Then again, I really don't think of myself as an artist--not in the fine-arts sense of painting, drawing, sculpting. These are the arts O. does. She wants to be a potter.

I guess in her view, I'm a Mom, and I knit, cook, bake and write about those activities, but I am not an artist.

Maybe I craft. Does that sound right?

One recent morning while A. was at camp, O. and I sat upstairs in the lounge at the yarn store. I brought the sweater I am knitting and she brought her sewing basket. She made a dress for one of her American Girl dolls.

I think about what my art history study has given me. I have the ability to see. I am always pointing out to O. colors, light, patterns in all that is around us. When we look at art, I point out certain qualities to her.

Alas, I have no ability with a paintbrush or oil pastel. Put my hands in some flour, or give me some baskets of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs and my mind starts whirling and composing. I can work by feel and sight.

Now, that doesn't mean I really know or understand the science and alchemy of baking, but I'm starting to pay closer attention, particularly in the bread department.

This week O. is taking a needle arts day camp. This should land her squarely in the craft arena. I suppose one day she will put all these influences together.

They are all interrelated after all.

I found this recipe a couple days ago. It has O. written all over it. I plan for us to make this together, or at the very least, eat it together. I link you to a slice of chocolate craft.