Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"The Elgin Marbles were supposed to be on the Parthenon. For many works of art, a museum is an artificial setting - a zoo, not a natural habitat." - Virginia Postrel
Recently I shared a poem by Marge Piercy, taking the lazy way out of blogging by giving you someone else's words instead of my own. Today I want to revisit that poem and discuss my reasons for choosing to share it.
Here's the crux of the matter:
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
I visit a lot of museums and galleries and exhibits. My husband is a tour guide in an encyclopedic museum. Generally I believe in (and support) the goodness of public access to art, and also in the preserving of antiquities. But sometimes I get to mourning the fact that so many objects created for daily use and not intended primarily as art objects are kept from their fulfilling their purposes.
Often I feel this same way when watching one of my favorite programs, Antiques Roadshow. Someone learns that the necklace inherited from a great aunt is worth a lot of money and decides to keep it forever locked away in a safe deposit box. Or a gorgeous Turkish rug is rolled up forever in the dark to keep it from becoming faded and worn. A glass vase spend years encased in bubble-wrap, safe in a box under someone's bed. I always wonder how the creators of those objects would feel knowing these ultimate dispositions, and imagine they would be distraught.
I've said this before, but I will reiterate: if anything I make is ever special enough that you consider hiding it away or saving it only for special occasions in order to avoid getting it dirty or torn or wearing it out, please reconsider.
My greatest pleasure comes from believing that my knitting brings warmth and joy to everyday living. I suppose this must have been true for the Hopi vase maker, as well, don't you?