Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Corn Dog at the Minnesota State Fair

The end of summer in Minnesota is marked by the state fair, which goes until Labor Day. The next day is the first day of school. I worked at the fair--first as a bus girl in a smorgasbord, then as a cashier, then as a manager of a waffle shop. I learned how to cram the most food on a tray--cover the whole plate with mashed potatoes, a good foundation for the sloppy food.

I still go to the fair every year—early in the morning and by myself. I am waiting at the door of the Fine Art pavillion when it opens. Anyone who lives in Minnesota can enter a piece in one of 8 categories, which include painting, ceramics, glass, etc. and also fiber arts. My rug featuring animals from Lake Pepin made it in this year. While it's not that small (over four feet long), it's definitely crooked.

I figured out early on that I don't like straight lines. One of the wonderful things about hooking is that it's not weaving and it's made for curves. Even my geometric rug, which took second place in its category in the Creative Activities, is not straight. The Navajos are said to have purposefully put mistakes in their rugs as only god can make something perfect, but I go a few steps further. I want my humanness to show through, to be what the rug is about. I love how the hand naturally draws things with a sway.

For me crookedness isn't a mistake, it's a gift. It is a way into a piece, an admission of the rolling of the world. Why take the gentleness of a curve out of your work--be it rugs, or drawings, or stories? Emily Dickinson wrote her rhymes "slant." She left the door wide open.

As I was leaving the fair, I ate my yearly corn dog. Just an excuse to enjoy mustard and ketchup.

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