“Art is what you choose, how you arrange things, permeating and sustaining everyday life.” Fiona MacCarthy, “The Charleston Magazine” 1999
That quote sings out permission – art isn’t out there, it’s right here in all this regular stuff. For MacCarthy (who wrote an engaging biography of the artist-craftsman William Morris) anything is fair game.
Even salsify. I’d never laid eyes on these root vegetables until I encountered a pound in the winter CSA. (A brave and fine local farmer keeps her food subscription going all year – moving seamlessly from summer to winter with a weekly box of vegetables.)
So salsify can stand for the challenge of making art happen every day. For too long I cordoned off “real work” from daily work and lost out on the possibility of nurture from ordinary doings.
Artists, who use everyday things in their work, and others, like designers and chefs and jouralists who use creativity in their work, inspire me, but so do people who artfully stack the firewood or paint the kitchen and then go out to work in the real world.
So it’s a question – is how the farmer grew and her customers will cook and serve the salsify art? Does it matter? Does it only matter only because that which is labeled art nurtures, is legitimate, and that which is work of house or family can seem just something to get through?
The components of the tasks are the same: planning and deciding, having materials to hand, and acknowledging the need for inspiration and energy and time. I recognize that attitude shift can’t always happen – but cheer when it does.
I better start by making something of salsify.