Famous Dave covered bacon strips in chocolate and called it "Pig Lickers."

I would call it "ick lickers." Never underestimate the ability of the people of Minnesota to come up with completely original culinary sensations to serve at the State Fair. But at least Dave tried to do something new. Personally, I believe there are two basic food universes -- one includes chocolate, and the other includes bacon. Universes should never collide; bad things happen.

But on to the point: I found a wonderfully serendipitous vintage wordstrip at an antique store the other day. How can I ever use it in a piece? I must keep it forever. It says:

What a brilliant and straight-forward command! And being on a wordstrip, we must believe it is intended to be understood by any second grader. Picasso famously said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." The best part of the wordstrip is that it doesn't say
WHAT to make or HOW, it just says make something.

One of my early inspirations in needlework is named Mary Bero. I noticed while looking on the internet the other day that her pieces are now selling for $10,000 - $20,000. This should give us all hope to press on -- her pieces are very small, dense embroideries (sound familiar?)

Anyway, Mary says: "Every idea is worth a try -- to find it, watch it, experience it, develop it and thereby have a relationship with it." She said EVERY idea. So when Famous Dave started melting chocolate to pour over his bacon and his mother rolled her eyes and said, "WHAT?!", she should have just gotten out of the way and let Dave have a relationship with his idea. After all, "pig lickers" are selling like hotcakes and Dave does have Famous in front of his name.

The person who most personally inspired me to live a life of making was my Aunt Lillie.

She's the one pushing the stroller, I'm the one riding -- Massachusetts, ca. 1964? This photo lives in my studio because Aunt Lillie taught me about seeing the possibilities in the scraps.

Of cold roast beef or of rick rack --
it didn't matter what. She was a maker.

But what shall I make, you ask? Maira Kalman suggests that no particular talent is required to make a worthwhile contribution. Just make something with what you happen to have on hand.

Make something of yourself.

We'll go back to my favorite, Sir Walter Raleigh, at this point for a refresher on the topic of "how much you should worry about perfection in your creations:"

This quote gives me great comfort. Besides, the important part is the doing of making, not the something of making.

One of my other inspirations is a man named Dilmus Hall. Dilmus was one of 22 children of a Georgia sharecropping family. Dilmus made art because he believed it to be our duty.

I'm so glad I found the wordstrip before anyone else snatched it up -- perhaps I needed it most. Because I should be in my studio right now and not sitting at the computer.

But before I go . . . my hero Louise Plummer said:

"For me, being a creative person means to make a mark in the world.
It is the act of making something new,
whether a symphony, a novel,

an improved layout for a supermarket,
or a new and unexpected casserole dish."

So let's all make something. And please, write and tell me about it! If you don't want to make art, go ahead and make a casserole -- you could even put some chocolate in it, if you like. It might be really good?!


takinanap said...

Nice post. First time at your blog. Looks like we are kindred spirits. Yay for Mary Bero who never went to art school.

SJ & Family said...

pig lickers eh...might have to try those...NOT! I enjoyed this post immensely, as I do all your posts. Thanks for the inspiring words.

abi said...

You'e motivated me. Thanks! You know, you should be super famous right? Really great writing, and of course your art...love ya!

Amanda and Christopher said...

Very inspiring post, thank you! You have inspired me to make the microwave cook me some lunch. Does that count? Ha,ha ok but really I am inspired to make more time for myself to be creative and make something, to create!

susan m hinckley said...

Actually if you can do something creative with the microwave, I'd be very impressed because I can't do anything but reheat. And that's usually cold or burned. True story.

Hannah Francis said...

no one but you can seamlessly blend the universes of dilmus hall,famous dave's, mary bero, louise plummer henri rosseau, and aunt lillie. I would revise your statement and say that bad things happen when universes touch-- greatness happens when universes collide.There can be no apprehension when mixing worlds together-- apprehension gets nothing done. Jumping into the possibility of failure is the only way to truly succeed.Love you mommy!!!!

susan m hinckley said...

Hannah, you're brilliant -- may I lift your comment and use it in my next post? (giving you full credit, of course!)

Hannah Francis said...

rip me off all you want...i mean-- you already stole from the girl's and boy's cookbook--you obviously have no moral quandaries with plagiarism.
just kidding! love love love you mom!

Amelia and Justin said...

I read this post while listening to "Songs of Sanctuary" (Steve's performance) and I feel incredibly inspired to do something. The two of these combined had an amazing effect.

However, I fear my creativity today will probably be creating a clean house--that counts right?

susan m hinckley said...

How do I get a copy of "Songs of Sanctuary"? I think it's awesome and I'd love to have one.

Ann said...

About 2 days before I read this post my friends brought over some fancy $7 chocolate bars of milk chocolate with smokey bacon. It was not too bad, except the $7 detail. I am pro colliding universes, but only if it us under $10.

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