Our Time in Elkin - By Hand in Hand (Andrew & Sarah)
We’ve called the cove across from the Tribune building and the Liberty home for about two weeks now. There’s a positive energy in this downtown and we’re honored to be neighboring it throughout this process. Jason next door at the learning place, Patti at the shoe repair shop, and the patrons of the barbershop have all been part of the warm welcome we’ve received upon starting this mural. It seems we’re painting a wall most people haven’t taken much notice of before.
Andrew has found a daily group of
pickleball folks to play with at the park, and even most of them, who are longtime residents of the area, can’t quite picture this retaining wall he describes. And we get it, it was doing a good job of blending right back in with the earth behind it. Which is all the momentum we need to transform it into something new. Something that leaves a lasting impression.
The beginning stages are the most tedious we’ll get into. Priming, drawing our doodle grid (a real head turner), and then drawing in our actual drawing lines. It can be a bit slow, but the work we set up accurately on the front end always eliminates problems that could be headaches later on. To the onlooker, it may appear like we’re painting a different kind of mural each day, but just as in life, each step can build off another. In the classroom, this was called ‘scaffolding,’ and it helped a student reach the next level of understanding. It’s no different here. After all, the lines, the color, the perspectives...it’s all an illusion to trick our eye into seeing something beyond the flatness of the wall.
And what is this illusion — a depiction of a moment in the woods, by way of trail. Nothing struck us quite like the forest bathing trail did last fall. We were in the absorption stage for what could be a mural concept, and a quiet, grounding experience on the trail directed our focus immediately. This experience wasn’t something readily available and local in the places we had been. It’s a feeling like no other. There are smells, sounds, and subtle changes of temperature. Your eyes are stimulated yet satisfied all at once. We remember the ways the man-made world has engrained itself into our senses. And time in nature is like a palate cleanser. We thought bringing an organic concept like this to the ‘world of rectangles’ downtown would serve as a reminder of the nature we’re all rooted in. And a reminder to visit the trails more often to cleanse the palate we maybe didn’t even know needed cleansing.
For the next few weeks we’ll be working on this wall, just like a canvas in the studio. Adding layers until it’s “done”. We’ll also be sitting in our $7 chairs at sunset looking at the wall and taking in our day’s work, walking or running the E & A rail trail, playing pickleball at the tennis courts, getting honey at the farmers market, going to Hawk’s for produce, treating ourselves to take-out Thai, visiting with Elkin’s newest return transplant and biggest fan, Maureen (our Mama Mo) up the hill, or just simply sitting on the PEACE benches by the dam and church. Whatever it is, it will be done with a gratitude for this place we’re in.
For daily updates and mural progress follow along with us on Instagram: @handinhandcreative