DID YOU KNOW…Research has proven that the giving and receiving of art results in a 56% improvement of personal relationships, a 28% increase in creativity, and a 41% more charming personal space, all of which lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.

I read this on someone’s facebook wall and I don’t know if it’s true, but I know I feel good about it. I’ve been given several pieces of art over the years, some by the artist – Steven Deronne and Alison Williams to name a few – and some as gifts from friends. It’s always so cool when someone gives you something they made or that there is only one of in the world. I also have given gifts of art and created art for people to give as gifts. It’s also a cool feeling. Probably even better!

When I do commissions or work for other people it’s always exciting to see their reactions. Tears are always a really flattering result. Lol. Call me crazy, but moving someone so emotionally that they cry just floors me all the time. It makes me feel like I’ve created something wonderful. It makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. But there is nothing like someone seeing a painting for the first time and they crack the biggest smile and are so happy. I’m not saying bought gifts are bad but there is something amazing when someone actually has thought about you to take the time to make or get something made that is special just for you.

My mum gifts quilts to all of us kids and to the grandkids. They take her ages to make and I know how much thought and heart goes into them. We all sleep with our quilts, cos mum has made it clear that we should use them and love them, not lock them in a cupboard only to be seen on special occasions. I think that’s great. When my kids and my grand kids and so on get what’s left of them after years of use and loving, they will have a part of her, of me and everyone else who dreamed under their colorful awesomeness!

I see this year there is all this online shopping to make things easier and quicker and cheaper. Today was a massive online sale Australia wide that caused servers to crash and people got really upset. I don’t really get it. Sure if you want to buy a particular item – a specific perfume, a toy, or an electronic gadget – I guess it makes sense. But it makes me kinda cringe when I think of people hurrying to make it quicker and faster and cheaper to give the kids or grandparents a gift. I put a lot of thought into the gifts that I get. Even for older nieces and nephews I take my time when I actually pick them out something for whatever the occasion is. Mum and dad got flannel PJ’s one year cos I knew mum would love them and I knew dad would resist cos he thought he hated them, but then he’d wake up one cold morning and slip them on cos they were comfy and then he would be hooked. I once bought Joe a huge collection of second hand videos to make a fake video store that included a kids’ section, dramas, documentaries and our favorite comedies – Night at the Roxbury! Romy and Michele’s Highschool Reunion! Zoolander! True once even got fake dogshit from “Santa” when he was naughty before Christmas.

My friend Emjay is an amazing gifter. She doesn’t even need a special occasion. Sometimes you open the mail and there is a little parcel from Victoria with a lovely jumper or a vintage wrap or a plaster cast of a hand making the sign for I love you. Why? Just cos she was thinking of you…Another friend Zoe makes beautiful frocks (pattern and all) and I’ve been on the getting end of that. So awesome. And Rebecca and Amy have each given me a gorgeous pair of earrings they had made by hand. Not only were they very different, one pair all small crystals and very antique looking, the other long glomesh disco earrings, they both spoke volumes about the gifter as well.

Even kids can get into the swing of gifts that are thoughtful. Years and years ago my brothers gave Dad a wooden tie that was painted purple and red because he hated ties and his least favorite colours were purple and red. The boys must have only been about eight and nine years old, but that story is still told with laughter all these years later. And the wooden tie is still safe at home in a wooden treasure box in the studio.

I sometimes wish that … well, not that Christmas and birthdays were eliminated, but maybe that there was a gift giving day where you were encouraged to make something special for someone special and give it to them. That would be cool. In the meantime though, I think my kids will be pissed if they end up with a painting or a wooden tie under the tree so I better get on the net and order some computer games and iPods. hehe


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