A Conversation with an Artist

I’m dating an artist. Our locations and schedules preclude spending a lot of time together, but she’s a lot of fun, and the time we do make for each other, we agree, is a good escape from the rest of the world. Perhaps not a foundation for a life long relationship, but for now, it seems to be working out for both of us.

She’s an artist. I have tended to say away from artists in my life. Nothing personal, I just found that I have opinions of art that aren’t popular with most artists, and rather than find myself expressing that opinion in circles where it is unwanted, I just try, when I can, to stay out of those circles. I have nothing against “art” in general, and for the art that I don’t appreciate, I don’t mind others appreciating it, they’re welcome to their opinion, as long as I’m welcome to mine.

So, she asked me what she could make for me, something of the pottery ilk, that I could use and would remind me of her when one of us wasn’t driving to see the other. I said, I don’t really have a preference, if you make me something, I’ll put it in my kitchen, and use it, and appreciate the fact that it was made especially for me. I know, that’s guy answer, we’re supposed to answer differently, but I feel like I don’t want to answer the way someone expects me to, I spent years trying to figure out what the “right” answer was supposed to be, and failed. So I’m trying something new. If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you, even if you wanted me to want something else.

So we found ourselves sauntering around the historic part of town over the weekend, and I found some things in the kitchen store that I liked, and pointed them out. We also walked through a pottery shop, and I found a cup, (made by a member of the ceramics class of the local high school) that really jumped out at me. Not many things jumped out at me in the store, so I told her, if you want to make me something, I’d like a cup, like this one. She asked me what colors I liked, and I said, you know… these colors, or something like them are fine, or if you have something different that would look nice, any colors will do.

So days pass, and she sends me pictures of some pieces she’s made, things from the kitchen store, and a cup, a very nice cup, but all of them need firing and glazing, (terms I’ve picked up over the last few weeks). So she said, what colors do you want these to be? I didn’t have an answer, and didn’t have time with all the stuff going on at work to really give it much thought, and honestly, I don’t know what colors are available, and if there is one shade in the entire world that can’t be put in a glaze, I’d pick it. I’m lucky that way. So, I didn’t get around to answering.

Now, she’s unhappy with me.

How do you explain to someone that I’d rather just not have anything, than mange to mess up my part of the gift process and make you unhappy. I mean, it’s a cup. I’d drink water out of it, I’d treat it with care, keep it in a place least likely to be knocked off the shelf, and I’d appreciate that it’s ”’My Cup”’ that was made for me. But it’s a cup. I don’t really care what color it is, or really how tall, or short. If it holds water, and was made with me in mind, I’m happy.

Apparently, the real answer isn’t the correct answer either.

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