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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Musings :Art out of the Box: Fairy Gifts

My great grandmother believed in fairies. She did not believe in pretty little creatures posing in her garden with wings. She was fairly scared of them as I understand it. But my mother always told a story about her. She swore that when there was terrible trouble or someone was deathly ill, there would be a knock on the door. And if you opened it, it would be so dark or so foggy that all you saw would be a hand. And in the hand would be a bottle or a pot of ointment.If you took that offering, everything would change. It might look like poison or cure, the person might get better immediately or not. But the certainty was that change was already on it's way.




I do believe almost all great creative gifts start with something that looks like a limit. I've never believed you have to suffer to make great art. But I have a notion how that idea evolved. Art does transform our pain, so it's much more likely we'll work on our art when we're hurting.


A huge amount of what defines us is what we can't do. Klutzy as I was as a child,socially inept and ill most of the time, I spent most of my time making things. As dyslexic as I am, I know I see the world quite differently than others. My spelling grades and inability to read a map or a calendar are proof of that. But I believe that adds to my world vision, to the bit of the world only I can see or show through my art. My hands started to tingle and go numb at around 16. It meant I couldn't do hand work, so I found I could to astonishing things with my machine.Currently, my knees are so painful I'm having trouble with the studio stairs. Which is why I find myself compelled to write. Our limits make us who we are.If we embrace them, our limits are what make us whole. The fairy's curses became huge gifts in time, and I am grateful for them.


We probably would have given Grandmother Ryan a lot of Zoloft now-a-days. I wonder how many visionaries, artists, musicians and saints we medicate out of existence. Would their lives have been better without visions, fears, limits, pain and the attendant terror that goes with that? It's easy to say they might have been. But something dreadful would have been lost. Like a child, a pet, a love or a vocation, these gifts our ours only if we completely integrate them into our lives. We have to accept it completely, sometimes, for it's best parts to be part of us. Sometimes the gifts look like great and lovely wrapped packages, but much more often they appear to be terrible curses at first. Only in the process of acknowledging them, assimilating them, and affirming them, do we see that the fairies really were kind. But they do demand action and change. Perhaps that's what my great grandmother was afraid of. Perhaps she wasn't all that over an edge.

1 comments:

dianedoodles said...

Wonderful post, very thought provoking!
I hope to always keep my beliefs of the fairy-folk welcome to to creep to my door.

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