Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Invitation To Be Beautiful

"even the grayest of rocks reveal delightful hidden shades when studied closely." -Kaffe Fassett

Adam and I had an impromptu date night Thursday night. He sweetly planned an evening out, and we drove to Eureka Springs and ate at Local Flavor for dinner. Just as we were heading that way, it started to rain and the drizzle had become a downpour by the time we got there. Eureka Springs being the picturesque place that it is, we ended up parking a good walk up hill from the restaurant - and getting pretty wet. But we were together, and that's what mattered. We chose to see the dampness as an adventure instead of, well, a damper.

Sometimes it's the unplanned and the unexpected that's most beautiful, though. I love Tina's completed storm drain project - as you're looking down at the sidewalk, you find a view up Dickson Street in an unconventional place. It also has the effect of making you immediately look up, to compare her vision with the actual street.

Another instance of unexpected adornment - for the Block Street Block Party on May 19th, Hand Held is yarn bombing the light poles (and trees, and parking meters), as we have for every Block Party. We initially did it true knit graffiti style and installed it very early in the morning and without permission, but last year marked the beginning of the event's coordinators actually asking us to do it.

But as wonderful as senseless beauty is, it's greater still when there's a purpose behind it. Just as Tina's painting reminds people that the litter they throw into the street ends up in our creeks and rivers, our yarn bombs will be taken down at the end of the day to become cage mats at the animal shelter. I try to do a special panel every year, eye-catching and deserving of its final destiny, and this year's creation is Graffiti for Humanity. I made several, out of different colors, for the event, but I'd also like to try the panel in different weights, as a washcloth and as a blanket panel.

Artosphere should be my next design published. It'll be an infinity scarf, inspired by the yearly arts and nature Artosphere event that's just kicking off here in Northwest Arkansas. In celebration of the natural beauty that I can admire but cannot control, the entire thing (60" of laceweight alpaca/silk blend yarn knitted on size 6 needles - roughly 65000 stitches) is going into the washing machine on hot wash/cold rinse when it's finished. I know it will felt in some way, but I'm not entirely certain what will happen exactly. But I plan to embrace whatever I find when I open the washing machine lid.

I've been trying to focus on projects like that lately. I want to teach Little Bee, by example, to live a life of renewing the little Kingdom corner we've been entrusted with while we wait for the return of Eden - but I also need to remember that that vision looks different for everyone, and that while I can provide tools and encouragement, I cannot attempt (successfully) to control the outcome.

"One of the biggest handicaps that occurs with both trained and untrained artists is a kind of reverential attitude toward making things beautiful, accurate, and perfect. In this approach the final product becomes more important than the process." -from Mess by Keri Smith

The tiny soul we've been entrusted with will have a passion and a will and a sense of beauty all their own - and all that we can do is guide them upwards, praying that God will provide the guidance that we cannot, and rejoice in the beauty that frames both tragedy and triumph.

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, 
calling out the best of who we are...
it comes in small inspirations,
it brings redemption to life and work,
it comes in loving community,
it comes in helping a soul find its worth -
and this is grace: an invitation to be beautiful. -from Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves

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