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Donna Flood
Follow the Prairie Road

      Long stretches of roads  were flanked on both sides by acres and miles with wide-open views.  The land, sky and both large or small bodies of water were too strong not to be felt even though driving kept my attention.Tall clumps of  burnt red grasses waving in the wind told of a good rainy season earlier in the year. Strong healthy cattle grazed on the pastures either in groups or sometimes scattered over a large range.  Reflected in the water were the puffy white clouds floating along with the same abandon I felt as I was on my way to an art-book-craft show in Stillwater, a town only around forty miles away. This was to give me a break from daily humdrum chores.

      The Best Western Motel is probably one of Stillwater's nicest and it was the host for the area craft people. There were tall open arches for entry ways on the front. No warning was given for  what was to greet the guest who entered there on this day of gathering together artists and artisans. Some early birds already had their creations exhibited and in place. Others were carefully erecting modern looking racks. No heavy out of place display, here. Instead the wire supports were airy and light. Their purpose was to hold the artwork and not to take up any visual place for themselves. Their job was obviously to hold the beauty of the artist's work.  This was as it should be because so much of the artwork was so unbelievably breathtaking it was hard to move away from one to another.

       Lavender soaps, sachets, bath salts; wood turnings from tree gnarls; photography so striking and strong it was like something alive; beadwork from tiny beads and brilliant to make the piece like fabric; wood carvings intricate and delicate; stained glass pieces  something to covet at any price, and these were only to mention a few.

       Years ago Mother and I had started carrying our card table around to the shows we together had arranged. One by one we began to find people who were willing to go for a day in order to display their crafts. As the years progressed folks picked up on the fun and pleasure of meeting together with others who were equally as interested in working with an art or craft. To look around at this classy show that was of  well planned spaces and orderly displays, was a far cry from what we originally had done. This was one hunderd times better. If I stopped a moment,  I could make myself believe the city of Dallas was around me rather than the small prairie town of Stillwater, Oklahoma.

      One of the displays was a use of photography in a unique way. She took pictures of old homesteads and super imposed ghostly figures of people who may have lived there into the picture. Her calendars, cards, t-shirts and cups with this photography were definitely different. It was a tongue in cheek approach to a subject that might have been just an old house and which held little interesting before the figures were put there in their hazy forms. I had to have one of her calenders as she poked fun at old pictures of farm life. This will be a great gift for my daughter-in-law who likes to joke about their farming endeavors.

      Anyway, my mind has been refreshed, revived, renewed just from gazing upon the exciting exhibits at the Best Western Motel, December 2004. Now let some fancy therapist, explain this to me.  The only reason I can see is that there is so much strong,  good energy,  involved.  To see others directing their strength, mind and thoughts to creating works of art some how or another  ties into our own mind and we are able to regroup, look again and get ready for the next challenge. Something like, “If someone else can do it, so can I!”

     Was this the reasoning behind the Welch people's dedication to their crafts and which made them the only nation England could never completely conquer? It was told even after the English built castles on their lands the people of Wales would set their crafts below the castles, where upon the inhabitants of the massive structures came out to frequent their booths. In this way they mingled with the Welch and many were absorbed. So, even then there was merit in the practice.

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