Some of my favorite keepsakes are items that were handmade by family members who have long passed. They remind me of the loving bond we shared and the admiration of their talents I felt. I cherish the wood my grandfather whittled into cherished pieces. I fondly remember my grandmother and I talking about how to paint ocean waves so they would look realistic as I gaze at her painting. Each year I hang hand stitched ornaments made by my Aunt Carol and the stitched words “JOY,” “PEACE” and “LOVE” on each one remind me of how to live my life. Delicately tatted creations that my dear cousin Sharon handmade remind me to be patient and forgiving as she was and still have a sense of humor about life. Her infectious laugh still rings in my ears today as I think about her.
Some of my favorite keepsakes are items that were handmade by family members who are alive today. Each year I hang my knitted stocking my mother made with loving care by the fireplace. I am amazed by how she made such detailed stockings with each one labeled with her daughter’s name. As a mother myself, I cannot leave out the many ornaments and priceless handmade gifts my son has given me over the years. I wonder how many of us have a picture of our child stuck on a hand painted reindeer or Christmas tree hanging on our tree tonight. Each one loved and cherished more than words can express.
One of my goals in life is to share the love of making something special, something that comes from the heart, and that will remind the receiver that the giver is lovingly giving part of themselves to them. To me, that is the greatest gift you can give another during this holiday season. This week I shared the meaning behind a handmade gift and talked to my students about how much more special their gifts will be to their families than a store bought gift. My students were eager to make a new and unique kind of gift this year so I taught them about one of my favorite modern day artists, Dale Chihuly. He is well known for his blown glass work. http://www.chihuly.com (I will post some of my photographs from his exhibit I visited a few years ago on my Photography page.)
Here are some of my student’s inspired creations:
I am so proud of my students for taking chances, experimenting and trying new creative ways to express themselves with art. I hope their families will cherish what they have made as much as I cherish my family’s gifts.