Illustration: 'Ustavki' of women's blouses embroidered with wool from Jasina, Subcarpathia.
What is and has been the role of the creative artist? In a way, we are conduits of the past. We store, interpret, and pass on the discoveries and interpretations of our ancestors. Our contribution, in time, becomes part of the continuing story, to be stored, reinterpreted, and passed on to our descendants. In this way, a life lived a thousand years ago will resonate through connection with a life lived a thousand years from now, with you being one of the line of interpreters. You may feel yourself to be only one creative voice, but you are a vitally important voice.
Break the line, abandon the creative path, for easier pursuits, and one line of interpretation and discovery fizzles out. This may not appear to be particularly major, but one line of creativity abandoned weakens the framework of human creativity, a framework that is at the central core of what it is to be human.
To open yourself up to the artistic temperament, to allow your senses to flourish with the creative arts, means that you can never be the same again. In a way, you have awakened to your potential. Once you begin along the path, join the walk discovered by those in the past, and then discovered by you, anything else may well appear to be transitory, dissatisfying, lifeless even. In turn, your reinterpretations of past discoveries are vital for your development within a human life, within the life of the species.
Illustration: Transylvanian lace border.
How many pathways have been abandoned or cut short by an unkind word here, a misplaced criticism there. How many creative pathways lovingly tended and extended by countless generations of creative individuals, have had to be abandoned by the illusion of society and its equally illusional understanding of the 'real' world.
The creative arts, in whatever field, there are so many, but in a way are also all one, are vital to the wellbeing of the human species, and definitely that of the human spirit. That they are vital to our future wellbeing and development should be taken as an innate understanding, but rarely is.
The society that we have carefully built up around us has often and systematically marginalised the creative arts and those individuals who steer their way towards that path. Pursuing a pathway within the arts, whether as professional or amateur, full or part-time, is seen through a kaleidoscope of emotions and perceptions, most of them being negative.
Illustration: William Morris. 'Little Tree' carpet design.
Attempting to pursue a path in the creative arts can be treated with suspicion, hostility, derision. It can be seen as 'charming' at best, 'a selfish indulgence' at worst. But your human life is about more than towing the collective line, playing the game set out by others, with rules often set out long before your birth. To be a part of the creative art world, in whatever capacity, from fine art painting, to jewellery, from ceramics to textiles, from dance to the written word, is about an understanding that takes place between yourself and your surroundings. It is about truly opening your eyes, exploring the world as it really is, exploring the wonder and excitement that you discover for yourself and on your own terms. But more importantly, it is ultimately to project that insight, that unique perception of the world as it really is in all its poetry, and share it with others, those who perhaps cannot see as clearly as you. That is part of your gift.
Many are locked in a world of gloom, suspicion, pessimism, even despair. To be able to show, through your work, even just a glimmer of the real world, a world in which there is so much to be thankful for, so much beauty, compassion, and understanding, who wouldn't want to show that to the world?
We are the ambassadors of optimism, the ambassadors of awakening. If we see our surroundings with a golden sheen, as with the innocence of a child's eye, then that is our gift to the world, not our disability.
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