Origins - Crissa Hewitt

It is easy to state that my father and mother had considerable influence on how I see the world and my fondness for process.  My father died when I was eight and fortunately I had my mother’s input until I was 53.  By conventional definitions, my father was the artist while my mother was the arts advocate. However, I have come to learn how limiting these definitions truly are. 

From a young age, my father drew and painted. He was always curious about learning new things and thus taught himself how to: play musical instruments, slight of hand magic, woodworking, leather tooling, basic construction, brick laying, and any number of things that intrigued him.  Despite my age, he was always willing to have me “under foot”…allowing me to work along side him and/or getting me started on projects of my own. 

My mother saw herself in the conventional wisdom that if you couldn’t draw, you were not an artist.  Many, in our culture, have bought into this self-limiting concept. She studied music, playing the piano and violin. Concerts and art exhibits were a regular part of her life.  However, it was in the home where her own aesthetic shown brightly.  She had a real eye for color and texture and easily saw through a faux antique.  Although she had little interest in the plating of food, gourmet style, she, without fail, knew how to put flavors together.  As I was able to do with my father, I spent many hours along side my mother learning how to cook and bake.  The making was of tremendous importance and pleasure, with everything starting from scratch. 

In writing this, I realize that the sequential assembly processes involved in cooking are little different from those needed when creating three dimensional objects.  By starting at an early age, I was quickly introduced to learning about tools.  My mother’s hand is frequently visible in mine: she would have been peeling an apple or cutting vegetables; I am manipulating a variety of tools effectively and safely.  I wish that my father’s hands were more visible, but there are certainly distinct memories of leveling bricks in the sand base, tooling leather, and learning how to shape a block of balsa wood into a model boat hull. 

Where does an idea come from?  That one is always illusive, but I know that I am on a path laid out for me by two amazing people. Were they consciously working to develop my artistic abilities?  NO.  This was about living life in a state of awareness coupled with the emotional rewards of direct participation.  The high sends you forward and you only want more. 

You can meet Crissa Hewitt during the Open Studios Art Tour by visiting her San Luis Obispo studio (# 89 in the catalog). Stop by and see the direction this silversmith, sculptor, photographer took!