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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gifting

My friend Jenny makes gorgeous soft sculpture goddess dolls. Her studio is a custom yard barn that occupies a section of her back yard, and in it she creates wonders like this one, embellished with raku that she and her husband Joe create. Their entire house is a shrine to art, filled with items she and Joe have made and collected over the years. This beauty to the right is on its way to my sister, who is graduating college this weekend, just two weeks shy of her 42nd birthday.

The BBPiT is giving me the gift of a place to create this year: our detached garage is becoming a studio and workshop, with room to spread out and work on those large messy pieces that I can't bring myself to do in the dining room: mosaic tables and book binding and custom painted guitar bodies. Best of all: there's plenty of room for both of us to work out there without stepping on each other's toes, which is so not the case for the dining room.

Dragonstar and I bought most of our other gifts at a local art sale, and I'm making a bunch of items for my friend Beth to give to her family. Beth has donated piles of clothes to us over the past couple years, some of which go into our closets, but most get re-purposed in one way or another, cut up and transformed into fabric mobiles, pillows, and shoulder bags. The items I'm making for her are part of our reciprocal gifting.

There is a sense of balance in this process, a feeling that we are participating in a good economy. What we do doesn't show up as part of the GDP, and it won't help the corporate bottom line, but it is productive nonetheless. It creates the sort of interdependent micro-economy that can give rise to a sustainable community. Not that we think much about that when we're trading art or time or ideas. We do it because it's worthwhile, and it's fun, and it makes us happy.

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