Thursday, May 13, 2010
VBS 2010 - An Arts and Crafts Disaster in the Making?
(The accompanying photo is of an inadvertently phallic candle that my friend Michelle’s son made for her. It appears he suffers from a lack of crafting genes too. God love him. Wanna see more creative blunders? Check out www.regretsy.com. where DIY meets WTF.
And now to the blog entry....
I've been designated as "arts and crafts leader" for my church's Vacation Bible School program. This hulking delegational blunder by the volunteer staff equates in strategic insanity to putting the Unibomber in charge of conflict management or having Lady Gaga lead a conservative dress initiative. Just the thought of gluing googly eyes onto construction paper or setting foot into a Michael’s store makes my left eye twitch.
When Lisa, the gal in charge of VBS volunteers, casually announced that I'd be leading five nights of arts and crafts for age groups ranging from tantrum throwing threes to authority questioning twelves, I thought she was kidding.
"Lisa, you've been sniffing hot glue again. I'm the one who gave the United Methodist Women poison ivy and chiggers with my backyard corsage project and was banned from teaching Sunday School because of my "pin the tail on the chipmunk" anatomy lesson using real body parts. Thanks for dropping the restraining order, but it doesn't mean you should put me in charge of a class that could lead to our church having its charter revoked by the Southern Methodist Convention.
"It's not a joke, Angela. I can't find anyone else who'll do it. Everything you'll need is in the VBS packet. I'm sure you'll do great.”
"Lisa, that's a dangerous thing to say, but I'll try," I said, panic filling my heart and lungs like the heat from Martha Stewart's soldering iron.
I am good at a few things. Things that don’t require painting, sculpting, knitting, macramé or creating keepsakes with popsicle sticks, sequins, mini pompoms, glitter, mod podge and decoupage. I work well with words …and cooking anything that has “Helper” in the title. I also do a great Beth Moore impersonation. That’s pretty much it.
My most recent craft projects include inadvertently splatter painting my bathroom with Miss Clairol #132 while trying to color my own hair. I’m not sure which got the better end of the deal….the bathroom or my hair. They’re both still recovering. Then there was my Bondo colored, pancreas shaped pottery creation at Camp Blue last summer. This is an awesome family camp in the Sierras, hosted by the U.C. Berkeley Alumni Association where among playing volleyball, Cribbage, canoeing and drinking to the point of Cirrhosis of the liver, moms, dads and kids churn out enough clay pots to wow the entire Catawba Indian nation.
Knowing I wouldn’t be any good at pottery, but feeling the urge to at least say I’d tried it, I slunk down to the craft hut while everyone else was watching the famous shuffle board tournament that often ends in bloodshed. Surrounded by the hippie knee sock family of five that makes an entire casual set of dishes each year, I grabbed a glob of clay and set to creating a masterpiece…or something. After 20 minutes of pumping, spinning, sweating, and kneading (sounds like sex…eh), one of the knee sock kids…the little girl with blonde braids, tapped me and pointed to my blob which I’d nicknamed “despair,” saying in a hushed tone, “I don’t think that’s going to make your mommy very proud. Would you like to me to give you one of my dishes?”
Tears of laughter mixed with beads of sweat as I said, “Honey, my mom gave up on me a looooooooong time ago. But thanks.”
No one warned me that I shouldn’t reach up and wipe my tears with my clay covered hand. I spent the rest of camp week with a left eye that was cemented shut.
Even as a child I was a crafts failure. At seven, I was the only Girl Scout with no achievement patches sewn on my sash. I tried telling everyone I wanted to keep it unblemished, preferring the “less is more” philosophy. One day, after Melissa McAshton made fun of my lack of accomplishment, I asked Uncle Earl, a life-long Hell’s Angel, for some of his old patches. He acquiesced and Aunt Thelma sewed them onto my sash. The next week at Scouts, I was the only one with patches that said things like “.357 beats 911,” “Gas, Ass or Grass. No One Rides Free,” “POW MIA” and “Ride Naked.” Our troupe disbanded shortly afterward.
Back to the present, VBS is exactly one month away and I think I’ll rely on my partner Caroline to do most of the actual art and craft work with the kids. She’s good at everything. Maybe I can simply act as motivational advisor offering affirmations like “Great job, Brandon. Your mom’ll totally put that up on the refrigerator after she stops laughing.” Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
Posted by Angela Weight at 9:38 PM