Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky at The Dew Abides
Hanky Panky at The Dew Abides

Art works its way into every part of our lives, whether hosting guerrilla exhibits while renovating a krakhaus, plotting a craft-published book, or swapping pickles for pottery.

The problem is there’s a finite amount of wall space in the wee homestead, and we’re at maximum density. Even my sweetest-mother-in-the-world couldn’t resist poking fun years ago upon hearing I’d acquired another painting:

Mom: (giggling) Well, that will come in handy if you ever need to cover a water spot on the ceiling.
Me: ….

So we’ve turned our focus to functional art that can be regularly used and enjoyed because, as Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue said, “The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere — in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves…When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.”

Things like coffee mugs from Alexander Matisse, ceramic bowls from the annual food bank fundraiser, and our friend Kate’s hand-sewn camera bag invite us to experience that kind of homecoming — and now I’ve discovered another overlooked avenue for appreciation.

A couple of years ago, I exchanged disposable kleenex for reusable cloth, and my stash has been nothing but boring bandannas and generic men’s kerchiefs. But after her summer trip to Montreal, friend Cheryl surprised me with a delicate hanky imprinted with the three essential Bs: botanicals, birds, and bugs. Now I smile every time it comes out to dab away those ragweed-induced tears, and I know what perfect, lightweight souvenir I’ll be searching for on all of our future trips.

It’s easy to think fine art is unattainable for the majority of us, but I believe there is something exquisite to be found in the everyday. Art can surround us if we expand our definition — and our mind.

O’Donohue said, “When we hear the word ‘beauty’, we inevitably think that beauty belongs in a special elite realm where only the extraordinary dwells. Yet without realizing it, each day each one of us is visited by beauty…A world without beauty would be unbearable.”

Hear, hear.

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