Yesterday I felt discouraged with my art. Once again nothing seems to sell. My wands, (or do I call them fiddlesticks?) have not been the catalyst for my foray into successful gallery sales, as I dreamed they would. They have the components, a bit of the Sedona spirit, beauty. People who see them rave about them. But I have only sold two.
Having no energy for creating more art, when nothing is moving, anyway, I decided to take a day away from my studio. Perhaps I could focus on re-homing on re-homing some of these beautiful pieces. It could be an experiment in the power I believe they have.
Nancy, my new friend with autism came to mind. She lives seven miles from Cottonwood, out in Cornville. She has no car, no means of transportation. She walks 2 miles to Family Dollar for her shopping. She worked as an architect for years, but because of her autism was never able to make her business work. She lives on $8000 a year. She had suffered a setback recently. After doing a year of research into getting a heavy-duty sewing machine, she purchased one online for almost $400. It did not work, and she felt crushed.
I called Nancy and invited her to go out collecting wood around Beaver Creek, 20 miles from here. Gorgeous knobby Sycamore grows there. We would drive about 3 miles of country, dirt road to get there. Brilliant sunshine blessed us. Nancy remarked over and over about the beauty of the area, her enjoyment of the day.
As we returned home I handed Nancy a box with some of the wands in it. I described what they were, and asked her to pick out one which spoke to her. Without even looking into the box, she reached in and pulled out a fairly plain stick with one flattened end, and the other knobby. She said, “When I hold this end,“ gesturing to the knobby side, it reminds me of the times I went out shooting. Not to kill anything, simply to do something I do well over and over. This feels like the end of the rifle. I can remember how I felt when I hit my target over and over, barely having to aim.”
She fingered the other end, saying nothing. “And this end, with its smooth ernd, almost big enough to fit my fist into. It just makes me feel calm, quiet. I love this stick. And what did you want me to do with it?”
“Just what you’ve done,” I replied. I wanted to know if these sticks had the same energy for others they have had for me.”
Nancy began to hand me back the wand. “No, I said. It wants to be in your home now.”
I dropped Nancy of at her home, and headed back to town. I decided to go visit my friend Alice. Alice, approaching 80, has been fighting a progressive muscle disease. Last year she had to move into an independent living facility for seniors because she could not handle the shopping, cooking and other chores she faced in her own home.
I put my box down in her tidy room. She looked over each stick, weighing it carefully in her hand. With each stick she fingered its curves, adjusted her hand to fit it into its smoothed grips. She came to one I had brought over a month or so before. “Wasn’t this the one my friend Bobbi liked?”
I remembered that evening. Bobbi had come into Alice’s room as we were looking at some of my wands. Bobbi, Alice’s next door neighbor, is 94. Her family insisted she leave her small cottage several miles out of town, and she spoke fondly of the view from her kitchen window there. I felt so peaceful there, looking over the arid terrain I shared with jackrabbits and quails. I miss them here.”
She had looked into my box of wands. There must have been eight or ten of them that night. Almost immediately Bobbi picked one up. It curved gracefully into a birdlike shape, the right size for her grip. She held it and unconsciously rubbed her thumb over its contours. She continued to look at other sticks, but never released her grip on the one stick.
It was time for dinner, and she abruptly left the room to get her room key before going downstairs. “Thanks for letting me look at those sticks. they are so beautiful!”
I asked Alice if she thought Bobbi was in her room. “Probably. Dinner isn’t for about ten minutes.”
I took the wand Bobbi had held onto before, and went next door. Bobbi came to the door. She smiled, remembering me.”I brought you something,” I said after we greeted. I held out the birdlike wand.
Bobbi gasped. “That is so beautiful. Surely someone wanted it by now.”
“No,” I replied. I haven’t shown it to anyone else. It belongs to you.”
“I couldn’t possibly take that.”
“It couldn’t possibly be happy anywhere else.”
Her eyes welled up with tears as she caressed the gentle curves on its back. Bobbi pulled out a wilted collage of barks and soft moss. “I have had this for years. My granddaughter made it for me when she was a child, She is almost 50 now. I have always treasured it. Now it has a companion,” And Bobbi placed the two pieces together onto her bedside table.
I returned to Alice’s room. She was still handling the wands in the box. “I gave that wand to Bobbi. I would like to give you one, too.”
“Oh, but they are so beautiful. One is long and smooth, with lovely colors. This one has the sparkly quartz in it. I could never decide which one is mine. And it is almost dinnertime.”
“Tell you what,” I replied. “I will leave the whole box here. You can take your time looking at them. And eventually you will know which one has chosen you.”
Last night was First Saturday Art Walk for the galleries in Jerome. Three people stopped into my studio, and picked out wands. One woman wanted a wand for her daughter, who was facing depression. Another wanted one to take the Resaisance Fair at the end of the month. She wanted a Harry Potter-type wand. She selected a smooth branch of Sycamore. The third noticed a Cottonwood knot on perched on a piece of pine bark. “Oooh! that reminds me of the lovely hike we took yesterday along the Verde River. I will take it.”
Alice called me this morning. “Ann. You know that wand with the curly root on one end and the smooth bark on the other? Every time I look at the box that is the one I pick up and hold. You can take the others back.”
I guess I must again remember patience. I expected something to happen yesterday, and it didn’t. It can happen tomorrow. these wands simply need time to move on. I look down. Only now do I realize the whole time I have been working on this piece of writing, I have had my own wand in my lap. A unique piece of Sycamore, a nub of bark, a slender neck and two antlers, its honey color with red streaks, I find I pick it up frequently, give it a rub as I walk by it. It has certainly homed itself. And I have a box of wands patiently waiting for their own homes.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"