The Art of Folding Laundry
Life is certainly different in the age of pandemic. We’ve all had the opportunity to learn some new skills; some practical like how to use Zoom; some fun like taking online cooking and yoga classes and doing puzzles; and some daunting like helping our children learn online and keeping them occupied so that they don’t drive us crazy during lockdown. We have witnessed some of the worst and the best of humanity, and we have lost and gained more than we can ever recount. I closed my 24-year massage practice and have been using a good deal of my time making art and taking and teaching classes. I’m an artist. I’m also an interfaith minister.
I use art as a spiritual tool. I don’t know if other artists approach their work this way, but I do and always have. Art is a means to an end in many ways, at least for me. It takes me to a place that connects to something much greater than myself. When I refer to art, I’m not just referring to fine art like painting or drawing or dance or making music. Art is also cooking, and gardening, and skillful interaction with other people, and how we create our home. Art can also be plumbing or cabinet-making, or ringing up groceries.
Webster’s Dictionary defines art in part as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination…producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” And Wikipedia says, “Art is a creative activity that expresses imaginative or technical skill. Art is a diverse range of human activities.... The product of art is called a work of art, for others to experience.”
As a painter and writer both of these definitions resonate, but I think they leave some things out. I see art as a powerful part of human expression that takes its form though each person.
Fishermen can find great comfort and spiritual connection with the sea, and their work of art could be bringing in a big catch. Fishermen can derive the same sense of wonder and something greater than themselves moving through the process that allows them to bring food to people, and the sight of their net filled with the bounty of the catch is a work of art to them. And this work of art is on a continuous journey when a chef receives the fish, which to the chef may be a work of art, and brings his or her creative gifts to producing delicious and beautiful meals that are served to the same people that the fishermen thought about when seeing their nets filled.
Returning to the definitions, I am focused on the words “a creative activity that expresses imaginative or technical skill”, and “a diverse range of human activities” - because I see art in everything. In my view art is a tangible reflection of the intrinsic nature of humanity. We are born in the depths of Divine Creativity. All of Creation is an outward expression of Creator Energy, or God, or Spirit or whatever word each person uses to describe the indescribable energy that emanates from The Mystery and animates all things.
In my view we humans are always creating, even if we are not doing it with a conscious intention to create a work of art. But that is indeed what we are doing.
Creativity is our natural state and an ever-present energy that we carry and emit in every moment. It is our essence and our connection to and expression of the Divine.
You are an artist. The Creator expresses itself through you. Isn’t that a wonderful idea to take into your days? It is for me. In fact I’m heading into my studio to paint, and then to my kitchen to make something delicious for dinner. My husband makes folding laundry an art form.
It’s all art if you take the time to realize what a magical co-creator you are.
See you soon!
Franne K. Demetrician ~ Artist, Teacher, Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister, Mentor