The Artful Work of Sailmakers and Politicians

The artful work of sailmakers and politicians. That was my thought when I saw this image posted by an artist friend of mine (Thank you Caroline Riddell).

I have a sailboat. I am not a great sailor but I love the feeling of the wind as it catches the sails. That lift through the water is exhilarating. There is great dependence on that sail to work and catch wind. We make constant adjustments to not only keep up speed, but to ensure the wind does not blow us off course. One memorable trip had me and Dave sailing in high winds. We heeled over, dipped the rails, hooting and hollering. We were swept up in the moment. Consequently, we ripped a sail. That expression, “take the wind out of someone’s sails”, means the fun is over and fast. So, no speed, no control. On came the motor. Boring.

The fault was entirely ours. We did not maintain our sail properly. It was bagged out and tired. All the signs were there. But we turned a blind eye. Repair was costly. It also meant when the sail was off the boat, we couldn’t sail. We knew we needed to be responsible sailors. However, we chose fun over maintenance.

America’s politicians need to handle the transition out of the Trump administration into the Biden administration with artfully crafted statesmanship at home and abroad, careful consideration of all the weak spots and extreme shoring up where things are torn apart.

There can be an elegance and longevity from that careful work just as in sail making. Americans, frankly the whole world, needs a quick and effective suturing of that country with surgical precision. Yet at the same time, it needs to feel like the patchwork of differences is gently quilted back together.

For instance, the politicians need to support their own. I read today that Alexandria Occasio Cortez is unsure of her place in politics. That breathtaking warrior woman is tired, constantly in danger and derided by her own party. The Democrats would do very well to attend to the frayed and worn out edges of their own party members. If these courageous public servants don’t feel supported, they can not do their job. On the other hand, if they are supported, lifted up, they can continue to fight for their constituency and for the nation as a whole.

No one can afford a blow out right now.

The work done by politicians IS demanding. Certainly, there is NO room for error right now. Above all else, they have been entrusted with the votes to bring their country back into safe harbour.

sail maker, politicians, healing wounds, american politics, artists, artistic possibility, melanie teichroeb, artful, artful work
“This is the corner of a hand sewn sail made in the 1800s. The craftsmanship and quality of the work is amazing. This is a lost art. The canvas sails were made of hemp along with clothing, ropes, and the caulking used to fill gaps between planks among other things. Hemp is 3 times stronger than jute and was preferred because it was unaffected by salt water.
The work done by sail makers was demanding and left no room for error as their sails would be what brings fishermen home safely.” Lori Malone

I feel like we are all working to stitch something together, piecemeal, bit by bit right now. It feels that way for the performing artists I know. They take a breath, take stock and shape shift a little. I am writing new projects. Stitching my frayed edges back together with all the artistry I can muster. Not only is it reassuring but sometimes, beauty can come out of it too. I sincerely hope we can witness the beauty and grace of hard work in America as the country heals itself. The artful work of sailmakers and politicians can be more than a lovely metaphor I hope.