Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Restoring a Lost Art


I think the first job I ever had is now extinct. Technology has wiped it out.

Once upon a time before computers and desktop publishing ruled the world, I worked in the advertising department of a small-town newspaper. 

I used ancient tools like typewriters and X-Acto knives and jars of rubber cement. 

I'd leaf through glossy pages of clip-art books, looking for pictures to illustrate my ads.

As the new girl in town I had all the accounts my colleagues didn't want. I mocked up ads for weekly sales at the hardware store, lunch specials at the greasy-spoon diner, and discounts for TV repair.



I knew very little about sales so my style was nonchalant and apologetic. 

I’d tell clients I was only asking them to buy bigger ads because my boss wanted me to. This approach must have worked since I was shocked to discover I'd sold the second highest number of ads for our holiday issue, right behind the department’s top saleswoman.

That job wasn't a great fit for me and I eventually quit, but for a long time I kept a little folder of my ads, not realizing they were relics of a bygone era.



Last summer during my art class in Italy, I found myself once again cutting and pasting words and images on to a board. 

Except now I was making a travel journal and it was called mixed-media art.

Pictures and words, written on a page or artfully arranged -- they always have been pieces of my story.

But what happens when we lose pieces of ourselves, our work, or our hearts, thinking they are outdated, extinct or worthless? 



It's the losses -- of a friendship, a dream, a paycheck, good health, a love or a loved one -- that can knock us off balance so all we see are wilted and worn out days in front of us. 

We need the perspective of fresh expectancy for the future and the hope that lovely and delightful things still await, no matter the age or stage of life.

But maybe that's when we're ready for some good news.

Sometimes when we've lost something precious to us, we have to let ourselves be found.
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.-Ez. 34:11 (NIV)







Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. 
Maybe some pieces of what we think we’ve lost along the way during our seasons of life are just lying dormant, waiting to reemerge in a different form.

The revival might cause it to look altered and have a new name but when we take a closer look at what we found, we see it's familiar. 

The beauty's revealed, the purpose comes into focus and little flutters of joy stir within us. 

We will never completely understand our circumstances and losses in this life, but I think we have to be at ease in the not knowing.

And welcome the restoration of our lives, hearts and minds for the work of something new.




I still think about the march of time and technology, though.

I wonder if all the gadgets we use so faithfully now will someday be as ancient as newsprint and typewriters?

I'm not sure that would qualify as breaking news. 

But it just might require quite the artful sales pitch.





I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there by clicking the image if you want to read more posts from my blogger friends!






28 comments:

  1. mmm ... everything old is new again, Valerie.

    you're bringing to mind all the hours along the way creating collages from magazines, photos, ticket stubs, and bits and pieces, starting way back in junior high and continuing right through college {in my 40s for some random class}.

    talk about art therapy! what a therapeutic way to while away the hours ... and gain perspective on what matters most ...

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Yes, I loved to save all those bits and bobs (as my British friend says!) and include them in my souvenir and memory books! I think it's so fun and yes, you are so right -- it's therapeutic!

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  2. Valerie. I enjoyed reading your description of your former job. The mixed media travel art is stunning. As is everything I have seen of your creation.
    I really like this line " sometimes when we have lost something precious to us we have to let ourselves be found "
    This is a gem
    Love your words Valerie

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    1. Somer,
      You are so encouraging of my words -- ALWAYS, friend! I don't know what I'd do without you here and I'm so grateful to have you as a friend! xo

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  3. Valerie, once upon a time, I worked in the editorial department of a small-town newspaper, writing business news stories and laying out pages for the graphics department to cut into pieces and paste up for the printer. It seems like lifetimes ago, and in some ways, it really was. There was so much I didn't know--about life, God, everything. And now, as I watch my parents navigate a sad and somewhat unexpected season in their lives, this really spoke to me: "We need the perspective of fresh expectancy for the future and the hope that lovely and delightful things still await, no matter the age or stage of life." The truth that the sovereign God searches for His sheep and looks after them, even when they seem to be losing key parts of themselves, is so comforting. Thank you, my friend.

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    1. Hi Lois,
      I love it that you worked at a paper too! I had a journalism degree but there were no openings in editorial so I ended up in advertising sales. I learned so much too (and knew so little at the time!) but it was a fascinating place.

      It must be difficult to watch your parents go through challenges as they age and it's hard to know we'll soon be where they are (a point that hits hard sometimes), but thank you for sharing your experience here --I love hearing about it and I love your writing, Lois! xo

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  4. Valerie, As I'm reading the comments here, I'm amazed at how many of us had jobs working in the long-ago field of graphic arts! I too dabbled in those cut-and-paste newsletters for my early jobs and early ministries! You have such a beautiful way of capturing art and images and words, and stringing them together to capture our hearts! Thank you for the encouragement to know that "Maybe some pieces of what we think we’ve lost along the way during our seasons of life are just lying dormant, waiting to reemerge in a different form." His mercies ARE new for us every morning! --Blessings and Hugs!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      You too? I grew up watching my mother lay out the church newsletter every week with rolls of graphic tape and little images that it must have made an impression on me! How far we've come, haven't we, that our old practices feel so long ago! I'm so grateful for you -- and that God's mercies are new for us too! xo

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  5. I think it's so sad how hands-on creativity is being replaced by technology. You are so encouraging, Valerie. I love how you point out our need to have a "perspective of fresh expectancy." This line is so comforting - "Maybe some pieces of what we think we’ve lost along the way during our seasons of life are just lying dormant, waiting to reemerge in a different form." And the truth that the Lord will always seek out His sheep and take care of them gives me a sigh of relief for all of us. I love your pics, too, as always. The Karen Kingsbury quote is so fitting here. Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      I'm with you on creativity and technology! I'm trying to still be creative and capture little corners of my photos to enlarge and show them from a different perspective -- and I'm finding it's actually a fun little project! Isn't that Karen Kingsbury card a beauty? It's one of my favorites! xo

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  6. ohhh So many thoughts your post today... So thankful. You put the perfect words on my heart and how I'm feeling altered (for the better!) this week! Soaking in all the words and pictures-- and I looooove how you added your touch to the Eiffel Tower.... Those pictures make me swoon each time I see them again! ♥ I too am enamored with 'mixed-media' as all the hipsters call it now-a-days... and your first job took me back to the memory of my Aunt's job at the Free Will Baptist Press in the 80s and early 90s just around the corner from my Grandparent's house in NC--- she worked in the graphic department typing and laying out with big old light tables, x-acto knives, clip art and all! How I loved visiting her at work when I was a little girl! AND you have given me such hope and direction with a few projects I had stalled out on for the vintage show in Oct. What a blessing you are Valerie. xo Here's to renewed hope my friend! Thank you! ♥

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    1. Heather,
      Thank YOU for sending me those beautiful images of Paris! I meant to put a little note to you in the post, but time got away from me. You inspired me with them and I love how you knew what I would like -- you have a gift for giving gifts, friend!

      Hipsters and mixed-media art! I wondered what it was when I first saw it and then I realized it just had a fancy new name! Your show is going to be amazing and I am honored if my little post I struggled with this week sparks any sort of creativity in your heart! xoxoxo I'm so grateful for you!

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  7. So much this: "We will never completely understand our circumstances and losses in this life, but I think we have to be at ease in the not knowing." I'm coming to find that the quiet acceptance - the peace in spite of the pain - is a sure sign of healing. Love your words, Valerie and as always, your pictures are captivating. xoxo

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    1. Thank you Tiffany! There are just some things we have to let go, aren't there and make our peace with it? So grateful for your encouraging words!

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  8. That mixed media is so darn pretty! I believe there is something in our heart that will always yearn for the designs of pretty papers and cursive writing (with an actual pen, pencil, or marker that is). I still like making cards for my friends. Even though my skills are mediocre at best, the attention to detail with no technology is about as refreshing as mountain trail walk to me. Our losses will linger with memories that science says our minds tend to change but, in the ebb and flow of life, there is always something making anew. Beautiful post as always!

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    1. Lynn,
      Me too! I always gravitate toward pens and journals and paper -- it speaks beauty to me. I love the way the ink flows on the pages and wish I had prettier handwriting -- or I want to learn some of the new calligraphy styles that so popular now!

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  9. This is so beautiful. I shared a quote on Twitter and I also love this: We will never completely understand our circumstances and losses in this life, but I think we have to be at ease in the not knowing.

    That brings comfort and reassurance to me, because we will or have gone through things we may never understand. And to know that is okay, takes the pressure off to try and "fix" or "change" myself. I can't! He can do a work in me but I can not do anything apart from Him. I love your art and all the ways you tie things together. Thanks for this lovely read, Val.

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    1. Hi Meg,
      Thanks for sharing my words! And thank you for the beauty of your friendship I've experienced this year after our online study of Seamless! You are a masterpiece! xo

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  10. Hi Valerie :) I just have to say- I love your style! every post is so beautiful and such a great style- I am not sure how to say it better- but these pictures and collages are just beautiful and always take me on a mini vacation. I have always wanted to go to France and Italy and being here feels a little like that! (thank you!!! ) And I love these thoughts- That there are delightful things ahead no matter what season we are in! That’s so encouraging. I sometimes feel sad because it feels like the best seasons are over- That can’t be true in His eyes! Anyway I also think this is so true and so well said "Sometimes when we've lost something precious to us, we have to let ourselves be found.” This is good to think on and timely for me. Also I love the thought of being at ease in the not knowing - is so hard for me but so good- and what I think God is inviting me to do. Thanks so much for this beautiful post Valerie! xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Heather sent me those lovely Paris cards this week and they are gorgeous, aren't they? With a little help from my niece Devon, who helped me choose the little display board (she said it was Joanna Gaines-esque!) I can look at the photos hanging in my kitchen. :) I'm so thankful for a beautiful friend like you!

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  11. This kinda makes me think of expectations we might hold onto tightly and when they don't happen, the mourning that takes place. But in the releasing of those expectations sometimes over time or sometimes right away, new realistic expectations arrive which then makes everything different but also better than before. Hope that makes sense. I speak from experience because God is working these things out in my heart and life. I hope your birthday weekend is a good one ; ) hope to hear about it : )

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      Oh yes -- those old expectations! I've got to trade them in again and again for anticipation of whatever comes my way -- such a hard thing to do! God does work those things out in our hearts and I know you are experiencing his grace on your journey too! xo

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  12. Oh, goodness Valerie! I still have a x-acto knife! And boy do I remember the day of pasting up the newspaper and ads with rubber cement! Are we dating ourselves? Yes, fresh expectancy speaks to me! Beautiful post!

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    1. Hi Ellen,
      Nice to see you here again! :) Yes, I think we're admitting our age -- which only adds to our allure -- if we can still recall the aroma of rubber cement and paste-up boards! :) xoxo

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  13. I love that your style was apologetic. :) I can totally relate as I feel so uncomfortable trying to sell stuff!
    Everything has a season and a reason. We just don't always know them right away or when they will end. That is probably a good thing!

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    1. Sarah,
      Haha -- I'm not a good saleswoman!

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  14. Your mixed-media art is AMAZING! I've started experimenting with mixed media envelope art and it's been a lot of fun. It's been a great outlet for a creativity I never thought I had! P.S. I did a freelance sales job in-between jobs and hated every moment of it, so I know where you are coming from....

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    1. Amy,
      You are truly an artist! I've always admired everything you create! And ugh -- I'm with you on the sales jobs!!

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