Yesterday I drove up to Stowe, Vermont, to deliver two dozen hanging snowflakes and four framed kirigami mandalas to the little Stowe Coffee Shop. The owner, Heidi, was so cordial and enthusiastic about hanging my work in her shop. She found me on Etsy, as did four of the other shops I hang my work in. Snowflakes will make the perfect decor for winter in a ski town. She is also going to reserve a month in 2009 for my other artwork. (Many of the cafes and restaurants around here show local artists on a rotating basis, like little galleries.) I may return to Stowe in a week or two to see how my work looks in the coffee shop. If so, I will take photos for you.
A curious thing happened to me in Stowe. Since I was an hour early for my appointment with Heidi, I decided to walk around the village for a while, poking into shops and galleries. What I found was a town bursting with a vibrant collection of art and craft -- and not kitchy, cutesy craft, but elegant, fine work of all types. I was enthralled, inspired, and a little discouraged. Woodstock is so dead compared to Stowe. (Woodstock is a beautiful town, elegantly laid out with fine houses, a few boutiques, and two museums. Stowe is a jumbled mismatch of streets and shops of all kinds, much more touristy, more cacophonous, yet more alive.) I kept feeling that I am somehow asleep where I live. Stowe is more like the place I should be trying to place my work. Yet my work, at least my kirigami, feels dwarfed and inconsequential among the elegance I found there. I don't want my work to be simply a seasonal amusement, which is what my snowflakes probably are. Somehow I forgot that amidst all the notice I've received this winter. It felt discouraging and deflating to realize that yesterday.
Yet again I play small.
Well, the season is nearly over anyways. The next few days will be filled with Christmas sewing for me. I will cut about a dozen more large mandalas to frame and then put it away until next year. I am anxious to get back to my regular artwork. Black and white florals and, most of all, color illustration. Color. My life needs more color.