MORNING COFFEE 15 - the sheen of it

by Susan Weber

At the typical gathering that lured artists from our respective solitudes, your encompassing smile and cordial hello framed in the lush, Einsteinian coiffeur you’re known for, had a way of putting me at ease. At one of these meetings, on hearing that my guitar hands were reverting to some kind of pre-prehensile state from overuse or insufficient caution, you said your hands manipulating clay had likewise gone on strike from time to time. Several days later your DVD arrived in the mail. In it a young Chinese man demonstrated exercises that did in time return my hands to their instrument. Now as I'm besieged by the stealthy impediments of age, the hand routines are relevant again.

In my early days as a teaching artist, a scheduler at the non-profit that employed us both told me that you rarely turned down work or lobbied for a pay raise. You preferred to have more work at prices schools could afford than fewer opportunities based on lack of funds. I had seen your students’ intricate murals outside school offices, on brick walls abutting urban playgrounds, and down the hallways of tiny schools in the greening hills of the Buckeye State. Tiles forged by many hands, fired in your kiln, and assembled into quilted ceramic landscapes blanketed the realm. Your approach allowed me to avail myself of many the rewarding opportunity to ply my stock in trade.

Upon retiring, I was given by our colleagues a superfluity of kind words, a handsome plaque, and to my surprise a ceramic tray made by you. A butterfly spread her wings across six gleaming squares, speaking to my own metamorphosis as artist and as human being. In the larger context of our acquaintance, it was the perfect parting gift. The Center for Arts Inspired Learning from which we've both drawn sustenance over the years is also a place where artists inspire each other's learning. Now I can hold in my two hands your six panel mural, waving me onward to the next advent of bright ideas.

Photo by Susan Weber CC BY-SA 4.0