Growing up in Rinteln, Germany has greatly influenced who I am as an individual and an artist. Being surrounded with solid craftsmanship and quality “everything” are childhood influences that remain with me. I attribute my creative inspiration from my mom; she was always bringing together beautiful flower arrangements and creatively cooking the best meals!
While my childhood was spent in a very charming town, at a very early age I felt a stirring sense that I was not truly home. This sense remained with me into my teenage years and set me off on a personal quest to find out who I am and where I need to be. While most of you know me as a contemporary artist from Healdsburg, I want to share with you my German roots.
This month I traveled to visit my family in my hometown Rinteln, a small town in lower Saxony Germany. The town is nestled in a wooded valley between the Weserbergland and North Lippe Bergland hills. The town is truly delightful. Most of the buildings were built during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a time of economic growth. The town fell twice to the French army during the eighteenth century. In 1875, a railway brought the return of economic growth along with a large glass manufacturer. The town was able to survive through WWII without major damage.
Today, the town maintains its medieval character with cobblestone streets, half timbered buildings, and small shops. There is something solid and good about the old downtown buildings. As a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave this “boring “ town. Now I appreciate how it is steeped in tradition, in craftsmanship that has lasted for centuries.
It is not hard to find quality goods and services. The town has great bakeries, small boutiques, beer bars, hardware stores, and a local butcher. They are small quality shops and not too expensive. The quality is consistent. No big box stores like in the Walmart, which opened in the nearby town … and then closed. Nobody was interested!
People do not go out to eat. Folks like to make everything at home like jam and bread. They like to compare homemade foods with restaurant food and would rather spend the time to make a meal themselves. Doesn’t this look delicious?
Reflecting on my visit, I feel grateful for my German roots and appreciate the town’s history more than ever. My visit allowed me to gain greater clarity on how I’ve evolved as an individual as well as an artist.