Freida and the potholder fabric
A few weeks ago I got a phone call from a man who had read the article about me in the Post Star. His wife had recently died and he wanted to know if I could make potholders for his family out of some of his wifes clothes. It said in the article that my studio was in West Hebron, and knowing it was a small town he drove out thinking he would find someone who knew where I was. It wasn’t as easy as he imagined, but he find someone who gave him my phone number.
He showed up at my studio a few days later with a bag of clothes. He said everyone in his family cooked and would want a potholder so 30 would do. A few days later he called back and told me that one relative wanted 2 potholders, one to use and one to save. So he wanted 10 more and would bring by more clothes.
The next time he came he brought out 2 plastic bins filled with clothes and we went through them together pulling out the cotton and leaving the polyester. There were a couple of blouses that had special meaning that weren’t cotton and I told him I could use them on the potholders to be saved, not used. By the time he left he I was making him 44 potholders. He said it was all he could afford right now and if he needed more in the future, he knew where to find me.
I love this kind of work. It seems to serve community and connect people in a unique way. It feels close to the original purpose of art, something I’ve been interested in since I first became an artist.
I do believe the purpose of art changes and works in ways that are sometimes invisible to us for years. But the important stuff seems to have staying power and it eeks its way into our daily lives.
Some artists’ work effect whole cultures, others effect small groups of people, or just themselves.