A woman who works with her hands is a laborer;

A woman who works with her hands and her head is a craftsperson;

A woman who works with her hands, her head and her heart is an....


Monday, June 17, 2013


Collaborate -
Merriam Webster defines it as "to work jointly with others".
A few months ago I received a call from a client.
I have done several pieces for her in the past.
When we talked she expressed that this was an odd request.
It was.
She had been shopping in her favorite consignment shop and found a freestanding cupboard.
(Oooh - I began to get excited. I love working on large furniture pieces.)
It was a piece that had originally been unfinished.
(Originally? hmmmm...what does that mean?)
She bought it and had it delivered.
She wondered if I could paint on it.
(Of course!)
She continued . . .
Someone had started to paint on the cupboard.
(What? It's already painted?)
There was some very intricate, detailed artwork.
(So what do you need me for?)
But they evidently gave up before finishing the project and it was only half-done.
(Oh - so I am repainting the cupboard. OK, I get it now...)
She wanted the cupboard painted -
BUT she did not want to paint over the art work that was already there.
(What??? - ok, WHAT?...)
Someone had obviously worked very hard on this and it just didn't seem right to paint over it.
(OK - I can accept that...in fact, as an artist, I respect that - but...WHAT???)
She did not want me to try to copy the artists work or even her style.
But could I finish it in my style, in a way that would compliment the original art.
(I have no way of understanding what I am being asked to do!)
Sure!!!, I say...
But....maybe it would be best for me to come and see the piece before we commit to this.
Oh, she says - I hope you can do this for me. I so love this piece and want to finish it. And I would hate to think I wasted my money on it.
(Well, now I have to do this....)
I drive over to look at the piece.
I have no idea what to expect.
What I find is a very basic wooden cupboard.
It stands at counter height.
There are two drawers and three cuboard doors underneath.
The top of the piece is fully painted. The drawers are in various stage of completion.
The rest of the piece is primed with some pencil marks.
This was a huge endeavor that someone undertook and it appears they lost their motivation.
The detail was exquisite.
The quality of the paint used ...not so much.
The composition beautiful.
I am fascinated and I look and study and touch and wonder.

A partially completed drawer

A portion of  the "counter" top - or top of the cupbaord.
We spend time talking about who the artist might have been.
Male or female?
Student or professional artist?
What was this for?
A gift? A school project? A special place in their home?
Was the artist of hispanic descent or were they trying to capture a "feeling"? - Perhaps to preserve the memories of a cherished vacation? Or was it to fit a certain decor?
Why did they not finish? Why was it given to the consignment shop?
So many questions - it felt like a great mystery and we so wanted to know the "rest of the story".
We arranged for the logistics of the project.
I was only going to work on the cupboard doors and finish the partially completed drawers.
I took the parts I would be painting home.
I brought them into the studio.
I put the undercoat on them.
And then it sat there.
And I stared at it every day.
I was clueless.
What had I gotten myself into???
Finally - I picked up the first cupboard board and started to paint. I had no idea where I was going with it.
I was really stumped.
I just started.
I let the brush do the work.
I started with some leaves.
Once I began, the rest began to follow.

I deliver it today.
I am anxious to see how it all works together.
New door pulls will be added and it will all be reassembled on the piece.
to work jointly together.
An interesting term.
A process of pushing, pulling, negotiating, juxtaposing and coordinating, compromising, creating.
Sometimes easy - but often times rather difficult -
especially at the beginning.
Especially when you don't know who or what you are collaborating with.
But eventually, when you surrender to the process, the collaboration can yield some pretty amazing results.
Once again - ART teaches me about LIFE.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I think this may be a beautiful metaphor for the next stage of your life, handed to you on a platter by you know who!!! You now know you are capable of a beautiful collaboration even if you continue to have doubts!! Wink Wink!!

    Hugs Giggles