The Gift of Art • by Emily Neuburger
Art Runs Through Me
My mother likes to remind me that when I was a child, I didn’t really enjoy playing with toys, but put a crayon in my hand and I was occupied for hours and hours. I’ve always known this to be true. Just as people feel at home kicking balls, sailing boats, and solving puzzles, I’ve always felt at peace while making art. One of my earliest memories is from nursery school where we made representational nut sculptures of our families. I made mine with unshelled walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts and I glued felt and paper on for facial features and details. Little me was fascinated with turning everyday objects into something meaningful. With seeds glued on for eyes and just a bit of fuzzy wool for a beard, a walnut transformed into my father. I’m still just as in love with knowing that art materials can be found under a tree, in my pantry, or in the recycle bin.
Art Anchors Me
In college, I made a mixed-media collage of the moon. It took me hours and days. I used found paper, stones, shiny gum wrappers, fabric, and glass beads. My fingertips were numb from snipping and placing and gluing as I stayed up into the late hours of the night shaping my lunar orb. Friends gave me carefully selected bits of paper to add to it. When it was done, it literally glowed. It was breathtaking. And, I gave it away to an almost stranger who was in one of my classes. She was so kind and her sad eyes seemed to call out for a handmade gift. She loved it and told me she’d look at it forever. I sometimes drift away in my mind and ache to see it, but, mostly, I like to imagine that it still makes her smile.
Art is my Future
I have plans to make another moon. This time, I’ll have my children by my side. Surely, my friends will give me scraps and bits of gum wrappers. I know that I can make one again and again and again, and each time it will reflect who I am and where I am going. This is the gift of art.
To learn more about Emily Neuburger, visit redbirdcrafts.com.