the real art

June 8 – out of town, no knit
June 7 A quiet morning knit. Sunglasses and dog walked by twice on the other side of the street, completely ignoring me—or so I thought. I don’t mind anymore now that I know that we are keeping tabs on each other in a wordless Trappist manner. But then she surprised me, walking right up to the bench and asking me about the fall out of my encounter with the street sweeper yesterday. “I don’t think he even noticed that the line was caught,” she said, and I agreed. She said I had seemed remarkably peaceful, and I said that I had surprised myself. I told her I didn’t mind that the line had broken and would have to be rewoven. “It gives it character,” I said. She said, “It’s got history now,” and laughed. Under that huge hat, behind those dark sunglasses, is a sparkling intellect and sense of humor, I thought to myself in amazement. If I had finished this project in one summer or even two, I would never have known that…

Increasingly, I think of these human connections that are forming as the real art. The physical act of knitting is feeling like more of an excuse to show up at the bench every day! The knitting is the frame, the structure or scaffold that allows the art to unfold. The art that’s unfolding is something I could never plan or control—it is much better and bigger than anything I imagined. That is what makes it art, and it’s why I show up and do the work.

June 6, 2:15-3:15
Clouds like white sand dunes in a bright, blue sky. A group of young women approached me, whispering to each other about me. I said hi to the 4 Sehome High School students. One girl was wearing all black, with heavy black eyeliner. The strawberry blond girl had a cheery, round face and green eyes. The painfully-shy girl with green streaks in her hair barely looked me in the eye. The natural leader of the group was Native American girl with shiny black hair, intelligent and sweet. They get out of school at 2:15 but it’s not worth the price of getting to school at 7:45. The administration told them it’s to prepare them for the work world. They asked me a lot of questions, pausing to enjoy the monarch butterfly that fluttered by. Then they carried on down the hill to the park.

A. and L. came trudging up the hill with their mom, and promptly plunked themselves and their pink gear on the bench. Ari showed me the disguise she had made out of a grey piece of paper. It looked like a mad scientist’s mortarboard on her head. She also wanted to show me her “glove.” Pulling a crumpled piece of Kleenex out of her pocket, she carefully worked her fingers into it—transforming the Kleenex into a fingerless glove with scotch-taped holes for each finger. Then she pulled it off and stored it away in her backpack again for safekeeping. L. is sticking to her goal of becoming an artist even though she’s not getting any external encouragement. I remember what an old lady said when I told her I wanted to be an artist: “Oh, you’ll suffer.”  I told A. I remembered the name of her book, “Geometry Everywhere.” She said, “No, it’s Geometry, Geometry Everywhere.” She is smart, and very outspoken. Her mom said she’s been having problems getting along with the other kids, and hopes the upcoming change will be good for her.

They are planning to move to a more affordable part of town. The new school is less affluent and emphasizes the arts, whereas Lowell emphasizes leadership. (I think artists are leaders, but not the kind that Lowell is probably grooming the kids to become—CEO’s, lawyers, scientists.)

A WWU student stopped to visit. He was wearing a Beatles shirt with the words written in Hebrew. He had wavy brown locks, brown sugar eyes, and was so beautiful. He’s one of those beings who could pass equally as a gorgeous man or woman. He said that R. has a good lawn for watching the sunset. I am glad that R. has made a friend…I have a hunch  they are both Jewish.


3 thoughts on “the real art

  1. Renee says:

    I love the fact that what you’re doing is guerrilla art in that people come upon it without making an effort to go and see art in a traditional setting, like an art gallery. Then they have to decide what to do with the experience. Art cars are like that. It takes them by surprise. Also, with the help you’ve received and connections you’ve made, you’ve enlisted some participants in art. Way cool!

  2. Cheryl Ford says:

    The fact that you figured out your art is about connecting with people solidifies my notion about your blog.

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