Brief Thoughts on Art & Life

Brief Thoughts on Art & Life

Osma Couch and her daughter Josephine

I was saddened by the recent death of Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021), American composer and lyricist. He wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story,“ perhaps my favorite musical.

Sondheim also wrote and said about art:  “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.”

When you read my picture book Charles’s Bridge, you’ll discover it was art that helped save Charles during wartime in Czechoslovakia and essentially throughout his life. Art helps people of all ages going through crisis, loss and chaos.

In going through possessions in the recent flood in my home I came across a quote by a woman I greatly admire – artist, educator, weaving and basketry authority and author Osma Couch Gallinger Tod (1895-1983).

Widowed three times, she said in 1981, “Each time I was widowed it was my art that saved me. . . “When you are passionately in love and that love is lost, you have to do something to close the gap.”

Osma is pictured here with her 9-year-old daughter Josephine Couch (Del Deo) on July 5, 1934, the day of her marriage to Milo Gallinger in Hartland, Michigan.

Osma was hired by J. Robert Crouse to lead Cromaine Crafts (established in 1931) in Hartland, Michigan, which developed into the third largest weaving center in the country during the 1930s and 40s. Osma’s husband Milo made the weaving looms.

Note: Hartland is where Charles and I first met face to face and where I was a library director for 21 years.

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