Friday, September 05, 2008

The Haberdasher: A Story about the Value of Art-ARENDS

There has been a lot of talk lately about the plummeting value (or perceived value) of creative work. It's gotten me thinking about a great story my musician buddy Spencer used to tell about a renowned haberdasher (hat-maker).

A woman walked into the haberdasher's shop and asked if he would make her a hat. He agreed and told her to pick out a swath of ribbon. She selected some striking gold ribbon; in a matter of moments the haberdasher's experienced and gifted hands had transformed the material into a beautiful headcovering.

The woman was delighted--until she asked the haberdasher what his fee would be. When he named the price, the woman gasped. "You want HOW MUCH for a few meters of ribbon?"

Carefully, the hat-maker unravelled his handiwork, transforming the hat back into the raw material he had made it from. He smiled, folded the ribbon neatly, and handed it to the woman. "Madam, the ribbon is free."

All you authors and musicians and actors and painters out there--keep making hats. And all you who enjoy the work of creative hands, value it. In tough times we can still use the dollars we have to vote for truth and art and beauty. And really fine hats.


Carolyn Arends

now available: Wrestling With Angels
"Carolyn observes keenly, reflects deeply, and renders it all poetically. Wrestling With Angels is a book I can give to almost anyone with confidence it will speak truth in the inmost places." -- Mark Buchanan, author

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