29th June 2011
I had a discussion with friends recently about what is art and who is an artist. It amazes me when some people say “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body” and yet they are so skilled at creating landscaped gardens full of visual delights or productive patches of vegetables, fruit and herbs. Or, they produce mouthwatering meals and exquisite culinary delights for their family and friends because they enjoy doing so … or decorate a house in the most eye catching manner, turning it into the most inviting “home”. These people are indeed artists though they might not realize it. They are expressing themselves in creative form, letting their soul colour their lives in a visual, tangible way that is uniquely their own.
All humans have a creative side….we just express it in different ways…. some people are creative in less obvious ways, they use creativity to solve problems, or to fix or build things. Some are creative in the manner they conduct their relationships……. or deal with life……or care for their loved ones…..I genuinely believe that living is in itself, an artform! To deny that part of self that is an artist, is to deny our human-ness AND our spirit. Creativity goes hand in hand with soul.
A person’s “art” is as multi dimensional as their soul….. and like an extension of self, should be ever changing, growing, evolving, transcending… so next time you think you don’t have a creative bone in your body, think again. Every cell of your being is a creative student, every strand of your DNA is a creative master… and its up to you to let them explore and connect your inner and outer worlds.
The café is small and quirky, but also very warm, personal and inviting. It is an extension of the woman who created it. Brenda tells me she loves being here and it shows! She is an artist in every sense of the word – in her love and care for her staff, for those she welcomes into her “artspace”, and in what she offers the world. I always feel so deeply appreciative of the energy and humanity that touches me when I am sitting in the café.
The stories come and go, along with their people. It seems that so many countless stories unfurl into view at these café tables. Small glimpses of ongoing journeys too grand to describe here, but enough to inspire are left behind like crumbs, on the tables. Sometimes these exist in memory only; a few words overheard, or energy drifting in the air, and sometimes in written words in the little notepads on the tables. These precious fragments hide greater stories, which are largely hidden, denied, or on the way to being lost forever.
On the sunny verandah, an older woman shares her family history with a friend. She has traced her ancestors back to the first settlers on board the ship with Governor Stirling, landing at Rockingham, Western Australia. The stories she tells are stitched with hardship and yet rich with fascination for lives in a whole different world. The same woman has been an integral part of the local repertory club since it’s very early years, and quietly admits to being the costume designer and creator for all of those early productions. She speaks of all the outfits she has made and kept, now stored (hopefully) for others to appreciate and use. A vision of rows of hats, and shirts, and dresses, a parade of colour and style and texture, springs to mind with a hint of the scent of naphthalene and dust. In her collection of memories is a set of all the programs from every repertory production or play that has been staged since the theatre’s foundation. Except one. She admits that there is one from those early years, that eludes her. But what an amazing set of memorabilia that must be. Even I feel a desire to interrupt and ask “please may I see them?” Perhaps the one that is missing is yet a story in itself, and deserves a blank page in it’s honour? At one point this woman wonders if her children or grandchildren will be interested in the stories she has gathered from the past, but feels perhaps they will not. A look of resigned sadness seems to pass over her face. But I know that even if one generation might overlook the importance of her memories, there will always, always, be another who will be deeply grateful and excited to discover and relive them.
The stories of the now might seem insignificant and hardly worth preserving, but to future generations, they will be sources of not only fascination and intrigue, but reminders, lessons and images that portray the reality of these times.
At a table in the corner sit a man and woman, chatting animatedly at times over their cups of tea, at other times lapsing into awkward silence. What is their story? Could it be, that this is a first meeting, dare I say it, a “blind date”? That someone has initiated the exchange of phone numbers, and these two are now meeting for the first time in a comfortable environment such as the café, to get to know each other better? They spend hours, and numerous cups, and eventually stand, shake hands in an amiable way, and walk away. I wonder what stories and thoughts will unfold as they leave the café and go back to their own respective worlds.
On the green couch, and surrounds, there is much activity – a gathering of customers who at first look like business people, holding a meeting over coffee, with laptops and folders open before them, but a closer inspection shows an aura of creativity and flair that indicates these people are in the art or entertainment industry, perhaps discussing an upcoming film festival or event. Something very exciting maybe arising from this gathering at the café!
Brenda, Caitlin and Rhys, are rushing back and forth with cups of tea and coffee, and trays of freshly prepared food. They have a café full of customers, but also a volunteer in the courtroom gallery requiring a meal, the managers of the gallery across the road have ordered lunch, and there’s a regular group meeting in the adjoining artrooms that has to be catered for. There is a flurry of activity, but the smiles never wane, and are as always genuine.
On the table tops, a pile of note pages flutter. Here are the little treasures from the café visitors for this week and I eagerly read them to grasp the little stories scribed therein.
One cannot find happiness – it is not lost.
It is within all of us waiting to be let loose.
Delighted to see the tearooms up and running again –
we missed visiting.
Part of the country experience
(“The Perth Trio”)
Once I heard an angel
Talking just for me.
Telling me how happy
My life can really be.
If I let the past fade away
And live each day anew,
Focus on the pleasant things,
That is what to do.
When you wake up every morning
Be thankful for that day,
And let a smile, a look, a kiss,
Chase your tears away.
Cup cakes and roses
Are my memories of
Coffee in the
Old post office tea rooms.
(Molly and Brian)
Somewhere along life’s journey,
You may be lucky to find,
Someone who is just for you,
A soulmate, warm and kind.
When you least expect it,
He may suddenly be there,
A friendly smile, a certain look,
He will really care.
At first it might be friendship,
But then out of the blue,
You will realize
That love is there for you.
I think it is evident that love and friendly smiles are just some of the gifts on offer at the tearooms this week…. It seems there is always something for everyone, most of all the incentive to reveal the inner artist or storyteller ….. and where others are acknowledging their creativity, there is always constant inspiration for those around them……