“Thank an artist today,” someone said on Instagram last week, and I happened to be walking through the booths at the entrance to Silver Dollar City— little closets of handmade brooms and paintings and pottery and baskets and woven rugs. The makers of each were dressed in their aprons and smocks, watching us and waiting.
There was a round, older man wearing a bright red button-down and magnifying spectacles on a headband. When he saw the boys and I looking over his pen drawings, he eased himself off his stool. Brian held up a dragonfly for me to see, and the man said he had one in a smaller print. He pointed at the wings. Brian and I squinted to see a million dots of ink dancing into netted patterns.
“Amazing,” Brian breathed. “Are you the artist?”
The man sat back down at his table and put his goggle spectacles over his eyes. Then, he took a pen in each wrinkled hand and started working them like they were knitting needles, the ink his yarn. He peeked under his spectacles at us and smiled.
“Thank you, sir,” Brian said as we moved on.
A woman with big ginger hair was spinning clay on a potter’s wheel, and Elsie and the boys had their mouths open. For the first time since naps on Wednesday, they were still.
The lady cupped her hands around a slick cylinder, pressing in, pinching, shaping, flinging water onto it and starting again. She smiled and chatted and let the kids hold lumps of clay. She called it “stuff from the earth” and thought a lot of it— how it could morph and rise to become the pitchers, dishes, and figurines that filled the shelves behind her.
“Good work,” Joel said, and I echoed:
Brian eeked a “Thank you” out of the kids, but I wondered if we’d thanked each artist in more resounding ways, simply by watching, listening, stepping off the street to behold the good, hard-fought works of their hands, and then letting them inspire our own.
And maybe this is how we thank the Artist of the world, by watching the sky, listening to the wind, stepping out of ourselves long enough to behold the good, spoken works of his hands, then reflecting them with the works of our own.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” ~ Psalm 19:1