Imagine you’re strolling along the farmers market, checking out the produce, stopping in to visit the lady that makes jewelry from sea glass, scouring over pottery, maybe grabbing a bar of goat’s milk soap. You are enjoying the sunshine, being outside in the fresh air, listening to the live music play in the background. Perhaps, you are thinking about what else is on your plan for the day, some family time, cleaning up around the house. Thankful that what you left on your desk at work is still a good 36 hours away.
Now imagine you have spent a good chunk of your life working in a job that sustained you; made you moderately happy. But in your head you know you have a different purpose. You long to marry your practical skills with the stream of creativity that is flowing in your veins. As time passes that longing grows from a dull ache to a pounding roar. You question your choices, your purpose in life, and the reason you put your pants on and go to work. You wonder, “Is it really worth it?” Could you live without the security of a salary and confines of job description? Maybe. And over time that turns to – I think so. Until finally you look up to the heavens and think – I’m going to do this, and with a prayer to the sky that goes something like this “Please don’t let me fall on my ass, disappoint my family and lose my house” you jump off the edge of the cliff and find you are that jewelry designer, ceramic artist, soap maker at the farmers market.
Anyone who has chosen to follow their dreams has experienced this to some degree and certainly the majority of the artisans you meet at the farmers market will nod their head in agreement. But they keep the “Faith”. For many of us, knowing what exactly we have faith in is a little muddy. For some it’s God, others the Universe or something more undefined. A few months ago, trolling my list of Farmers Markets I found “Faith”. She looks like this:
“Faith” is the creation of Matthew Leavell, a Wilmington, NC based artist who is currently working in metal. “Faith” is a foundation piece in Matthews portfolio, representative of his journey from building security systems, to working construction, to jumping off the edge of the cliff to “go forward and trust the belief in his heart” to become a full time artist. Pulling from past experiences, Matthew creates structurally sound 3-dimensional sculptures, using a variety of salvaged pieces of metal and mediums. Understanding the mathematics of construction, he uses cantilevers that enable each piece to be free standing and unsupported, which allows his pieces to seamlessly live in any environment.
“Art is representative of faith.” Matthew said. “Artists don’t live in their heads, they live in their hearts.” His work spans from meaningful themes like Joy, Love, and Faith to whimsical pieces including flowers, cattails and this amazing jellyfish!
Each piece, by virtue of its origins carries an underlying theme of redemption. Not in the religious context, but in the idea of placing value on something previously discarded. “The scrap metals used are part of someone’s broken dream.” Certainly something to think about. Matthew’s creativity and skill gives new life to each tool, nut and railroad spike he recycles, creating a truly one of a kind piece of art. Matthew’s incredible work can be seen and purchased through his web site www.matthewjleavell.com. Or follow his Facebook page to visit with him at one of the many shows he exhibits at in North Carolina.