Blacksmithing, art, craft, and life in general
Posted in : Uncategorised on by : Brendan Walsh Comments: 16
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I would like to spend a little time on the subject of the environment or landscape (mental and physical) that shapes and nurtures the artist, or does it? Particularly what is the relationship between my works and experiences or life lived? To begin, I was born and lived all my life in Co. Kildare, a county of the Republic of Ireland (I intend writing a piece on Kildare at a later date). The innocent years of youth was spent in the woods and fields around where I lived. Because when we are small, the entire object world is large and the impressions made seems to last a lifetime. Animals, birds, trees, fields, meadows, rivers, streams and all that lived in them; the entire fullness of nature was a daily reality. This idealistic childhood would surely provide grounding for life and maybe a guarantee and fulfillment into the future? Well read on?
The social religious and economical world I inhabited back then was a harsh, cold and a dominated world. (Like many parts of the world). Poverty and ignorance was the norm amongst the working class or perhaps a more descriptive term is the ‘laboring’ class. One brief explanation to the background to the country at this time was because of the “special position” held by the church in the constitution. This concession was given to the church in exchange that they (the church) would take responsibility for the health and education of the body and soul well-being of the people. Economically this allowed the state to have the children educated and the sick taken care of. In many ways this worked well; the state did not have the reserves to finance these departments. However the ‘price’ paid for by the state was a mistake .The price paid for is evident to this day.
One victim of this oppressive system was the arts. Artistic expression amongst the working class in the everyday life did not exist. Whatever artistic activity existed was the domain of the middle and upper classes. This has in many ways, improved, but there is still a long way to go for the people to realize the important of arts in society. My opinion is and many agree that art is a language and this “language” cannot be expressed through the normal channels. A modern expression could go some way as an explanation, ‘thinking outside the box’. Mental health is proved to be connected with artistic creativity.
Art exists because it is needed, this is a simple truth. Arguments are made that the mental health of a nation can be monitored by the encouragement or involvement of the arts in society. I will finish this piece with a part from my own life. When working in a high support child care home part of my duty was holding art and craft sessions with the children. I experienced first hand ‘high anxious children’ become relaxed and happy as a result of working with and handling sculpture clay. What were more interesting that happened during the session were other care workers joining the group and became involved?
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