What beautiful gifts we each have inside and how hidden they become. How much daring it takes to share them.

I got a text from a friend who I don’t often see:  “Open (ex)studio Mon, Tue & Wed 6ish. Door prize possible.” It gave an address. That was all.

So on Tuesday at 6ish, my son and I biked to the named place, climbed the stairs and found my friend with a cooler of beer and juice, a vase of flowers, a bowl of pistachios, some chips, and a small room full of very large assemblages. Or junk collages. Or found object statues. Or … Beauty.

There were rakes bundled together with logs. Part of a bike completely laden and wrapped, balanced improbably. Chairs turned upside down on top of wheelbarrows, sandwiched with yellowed sheet music, topped with an old part of a fan, and garnished with lampshades. This one was called “The Beast”, that one “Their Highnesses.” The pieces were whimsical and yet spoke of the second, third, and fourth lives of objects. Of the under-appreciated sinews and bones of tools and furniture.

I’ve seen other things my friend has made at his home – not “art” per se, but repurposing of objects in ways that I’ve only seen otherwise in slightly futuristic foreign films. He’s incredibly resourceful and can make an old computer, a few wrestling mats, and the innards of a piano go further than anyone I know. I adore his ingenuity. But still… I was surprised by this rough hewn studio-cum-gallery space and its contents. “I didn’t know,” I said. He smiled a bit shyly, “Yeah, no one does really. I mean with the kids in the house and work… I just sort of have had this place.” He gestured at the room. But “this place” was closing, the landlord repurposing it. “Where will these go?” I asked of the structures he’d  made. “There’s a space near the railroad tracks that I don’t think exactly belongs to anyone…” he said with a lifted eyebrow, suggesting a an installment.

I love the thought of coming across one of these pieces in a strip of land that is in the midst of homes and town, that is right near by and yet close to nothing. A space that is everyone’s and no one’s. This quiet beauty, this hidden talent. A reminder of what most of us possess and yet others don’t often see.



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