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Archive for December 14th, 2011

Coco Chanel on Life and Art

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

This ColorJoy blog started in November, 2002. I had a burning desire to show art in life. I wanted others to see the artfulness in themselves.

It seemed I kept hearing “You are so talented; I’m not creative.” Yet, the speaker might have a magnificent garden, make incredible soup or bread, or have happy children.

I maintain that relationship-building is artful, that food can be an artform, that choosing clothing can be costuming as art, that words and everyday objects can be artfully arranged. All these creative expressions make us artful.

I am an artist. I couldn’t call myself that until I was in my 30’s.

You see, my artworks don’t hang in frames on a wall. I don’t draw. I don’t paint on paper or canvas (though I love embellishing gizmos and household objects).

My hands create more comfortably in three dimensions. I often make items which can be utilitarian (thus called craft, which often is seen as a bad word).

My friend Altu has a restaurant. Her food is artful. Her sense of flavor is well-honed and rich.

In addition to things, actions can hold art inside them. Dance, theater, music, poetry, even the creation of a safe and comfortable space for gatherings.

And yet, so many people discard their artful, creative nature. They say they had a talented sister, as if a family is permitted only one. This makes me sad.

You can imagine my delight in finding a quote from world-changing fashion designer Coco Chanel, which echoes my own thoughts.

Her realm was fashion. She uses the word fashion where I might say artfulness. however, she insists that the artificial boundaries we set need not exist. Here are her words:

Fashion is not something that exists only in dresses. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
–Coco Chanel

I love this! One more wise quote for now:

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone.
–Coco Chanel

I hope during this busy season of relationship, you are gentle with yourself. Consider time for a quiet cup of tea, a walk around the block, a few relaxing rows of knitting for yourself.

It only takes 2 years for some folks to call something a “tradition.” Not all of those traditions serve us well over time. May you free yourself of those things which do not work for you in some way.