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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The passionate holiday

For however your heart, it’s time again to embrace those jars of sequins and glue.
Pull out the satin and lace, the spices and inks. My dearest friends do it. My parents do it. The most crazy and the mostly sane among us do it. We will celebrate Valentine’s Day next weekend. Whether we succumb to Hallmark commercialism, or a craving for sweet chocolates, we culturally commemorate nature’s fertility, and embrace Christian sainthood by cutting, folding editing, creating and crating our hearts through mixed media cards, poetic letters (the first real valentine), fancy meals, and promising packages.
The valentine making tradition has fascinated me for years. I have put together a (heart shaped) book about its history. The holiday mixes Greek gods, Roman rituals, Christian martyrs, and offers us a chance to connect to others with a sappy and an emotional weight that comes from the heart.
It’s time to start making this year’s fresh batch of hearts. I used to do workshops and presentations at my son’s schools. This year I am hard pressed and burdened to make anything authentic when my heart feels broken. This has happened before and I know I can channel the emotional angst into a line of “penny dreadfuls”, wickedly mean cards in the Victorian tradition. So you better watch out, and know even if you get a nasty card from me, I still love you in a very special way!
A handful of friends have been exchanging valentines with me for several years. I am blessed with a collection… Some of my favorites are the unique creations from Erica Crofut since 2000, Steve Diekhoff since 1984, Catherine Trott since 2002, Michael Hoefling since 1980, Krisse Pasternack since 1981, and Betsy Strauss since I was a kid. How sweet is that!?
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