I grew up within the walls of a fully operational art gallery. I shared my bathroom with clients perusing oil canvases and iron toilet paper holders. Family trips were spent visiting current and prospective painters and potters, equal parts bonding time and sourcing ventures. At the age of 14 I was on a first name basis with some of Vancouver's most prominent artisans. (On an aside, my high school boyfriend was often mistaken for an artist in attendance at gallery openings. It was his safety pin earring and five o'clock shadow, I think.)
It's obvious, then, that buying handmade is second nature to me.
Buying art can be expensive. I have been blessed to have many creative friends (and a gallery owner mother) who have filled my shelves and walls with gifted work, but you don't need to 'know someone' to be surrounded by the same.
Fairs like Make It bring us affordable, high quality art. They're in major cities everywhere. At a show last weekend I discovered the stunning work of Calgary-based photographer Amy Victoria Wakefield. I bought an original as a birthday gift for a friend and took home a couple of her prints. At the same show I picked up two hand-stitched journals and a large hand-printed poster by Edmonton-based Bird on Wire, all for under $30. I've framed the poster and its clean black and white lines now lean atop my writing desk. I met the women who crafted these pieces. I praised their work. They smiled and told me stories. Now I see their faces in my home.
Art carries memory.
I have a favourite piece of art. It's a small painting of the Fathers of Confederation my husband and I chose to take home from our honeymoon in the Maritimes. It hangs in a hallway where you'd likely miss it. It's not the prettiest picture but, every time I pass by (about two dozen times a day, en route to the baby's room) I am reminded of this first moment as husband and wife.
Do you have a favourite piece of art? (A clay bowl your child made in art class twenty years ago, perhaps?) If so, what is it? Does it carry meaning? Does it too have a face?