Clucking at the Hen House


inside the Hen House

I met Serena at the Hen House, a diner in Kingsbury,  for lunch.  I often get the name wrong calling it the Happy Hen.   Serena said that’s because when we meet there, we do a lot of clucking.  And we did about 3 hours worth of clucking today and didn’t even get the chocolate cake for dessert.

One of the things we clucked about was the idea of making our work accessible to as many people as possible.  I remeber reading in a Joseph Campbell book the story of the three artists.  The first made exactly what he wanted and didn’t care if no one ever saw it or understood or bought it.    The second got discouraged with the art world and quit making art altogether.  The third compromised and keeping the integrity of his message, created his art in a form that was accessible to the masses, getting his message to reach far and touch many people.

This third artist reminds me of Walt Whitman who wrote rave reviews  in local newspapers of Leaves of Grass using a pseudonym.  In some printings of the book he removed poems that referred to homosexuality in order to reach a larger audience. Sure this is censorship, but over 100 years later, we’re still reading Walt Whitman’s poems, even the ones he omitted.

When I was in art school, if I tried to make quilts or pillows, I would have been kicked or laughed out of class.  I was making art that  I could  barely explain.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t something someone could take home and hang on their wall either.  Years later when I started making quilts, I knew it was an art form anyone could understand and even use.  I wanted to make and sell my art and I wanted to reach as many people as possible.  I have my lines I won’t cross.  And sometimes I have to cross them to know I don’t want to.  But I’m so much happier and more fulfilled and having more fun than when I was making art that spoke to only a handful of people.   Sometimes you have to change and compromise to be able to do what you want to do.

5 thoughts on “Clucking at the Hen House

  1. “I have my lines I won’t cross,but sometimes I have to cross them to know I don’t want to”. I can really identify with this Maria.
    The Happy Hen or Hen House looks like a great place for clucking!Is that Serena in the booth?
    Hope Winston is behaving, Cindy

  2. Maria,
    What a wonderful looking diner!!! I love the idea of your making art accessible to more people! I worked in the fine arts department of a university for 35 years and have acquired so many wonderful pieces, but there was also so much that I just couldn’t afford. I love your quilts, the colors, textures and just the way they make me smile; would love to have one or two! but just not in the budget right now. I retired early because of migraines, stress, and am loving my life now with my Dalmatians and the cats. But it also means being on a strict budget. I would be honored to have one of your potholders in my home!!! Good luck, not needed, I know! with the upcoming show and please let me know how I can purchase your art!!
    Jonesboro, Arkansas

    1. Hi Syl, Thanks for your message. Sounds like you got the life you want for yourself. The potholders are $15 each including shipping so just let me know if you want one and I’ll let you know where you can send a check. Thanks

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