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Why making art matters.

I've been inspired lately to create more art, thanks to The Artist's Way (a life changing book for blocked artists). I had abandoned art making for the majority of 2016 as I focused on Red Fern Studio and fulfilling orders. I tend to lose motivation when I start questioning why I make art. It's not a question I've ever had a clear answer to. Making art has always just been a desire that lives within me, one that I unfortunately tend to discount. In particular, I've always been drawn to functional art. Beautiful cups, architecture, furniture, jewelry, pottery, etc. Art that can be worn or used. I always reach the point of "but why"? How does making pretty things help save our dying planet or help reclaim our humanity? Shouldn't I be an activist or something instead? But my heart remains loyal to the arts.

Late in 2016, I finally reached a point where I said screw it and decided to commit to making art just because I wanted to. It takes a lot of faith to do something that your heart craves but your mind doesn't understand. After a couple of months, I had an epiphany during my morning pages (a journaling practiced outlined in The Artist's Way) when I was really questioning if I wanted to continue making art, because my momentum was starting to fade. I allowed myself to consider quitting, but was immediately given the inspiration I needed to continue.

Art can transform a space, a product, or a story. It can evoke a sense of magic and mystery to it's surroundings. It brings another layer to life - a deeper, harder to define, more emotional layer. It can make a product feel special, which in turn makes us feel more special and more deserving of such beauty and quality in our lives. A carefully wrapped and decorated handmade product makes us appreciate the product more. A decorated mug will transform the experience of drinking coffee. A carefully crafted pen will make us more present in the process of writing. We are sure to take better care of a hand turned piece of furniture. A beautifully illustrated book will call us to open it back up. I have a handmade necklace that I purchased from Etsy that says "maker" on it. Every time I put it on, I commit to owning the title of "maker". I often find myself admiring the artwork hanging on my wall, or the tattoo on my arm. Art makes us more present. More appreciative. More inspired. More receptive to noticing beauty in the world. We are less likely to buy more junk when we love using what we already own. We are less likely to throw away a product when it has beauty. Instead we will find a way to re-use or re-store it back to health.

In a world full of cheap, lifeless junk, we are in desparate need of beauty in our everyday lives. So while painting little leaves on things might appear pointless, I now believe it has more power than meets the eye. Please, doodle more. paint things. Buy one quality item instead of five cheap items. Start replacing lifeless items in your home with things that bring you a mysterious sense of joy. Consume less, appreciate more. Quality over quantity. If everyone did this, surely the world would transform.

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