GateHouse — So I had this AMAZING idea to be a person who sculpts things out of cheese for a living.
Genius, right? Think of it: All the rewarding creativity of a life spent in art, coupled with the incredible opportunity to feast on raw hunks of tastiness without even having to take off the welder’s mask, coupled with years of increasingly confused looks from the FedEx guy. It would have been grand. Also, as a person whose work experience has been primarily in the newspaper/magazine fields, it would have been nice to have some job security for a change.
(Plus it actually made a lot more sense than my other idea, which was cheese painting, which turns out to be a total mess, is murder on the carpeting and basically makes the whole room smell like a long-expired otter, which reminds me: If the kids even ask you for an otter as a pet YOUR ANSWER IS NO.)
Oh, what a glorious future it would have been, my cheese sculptures and me, traveling the globe in privacy (turns out the TSA frowns on flying with massive cheese blocks, whether they fit in their precious “carry-on dimensions” or not), enjoying orange-tie openings at galleries and farms worldwide. I was going to be a STAR, at least in the shadowy realm where cheese meets art, which, let me tell you, isn’t a realm that generally produces a lot of 1%-ers, if you catch my drift.
So imagine the crushing disappointment in learning this weekend that someone has totally beat me to the cheese game. (No, not Mousetrap. The other one. Mousetrap I knew about already.)
Her name is Sarah Kaufmann, and I read about her on NPR, because where else would you read a thoughtful essay on a cheese sculptor than NPR? (People, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to turn on the Internet in between having Inskeep ask Ben Folds about the Italian debt crisis but YOUR FUNDING IS IN GRAVE DANGER, as one of the nincompoops running for president as a “Republican” has a chance of actually winning for some reason, so you may want to focus less on cheese-artist profiles and more on, I don’t know, what can “Talk of the Nation” do with Ashton Kutcher tweeting about Joe Paterno? Something for three hours, hopefully.)
Anyway, Kaufmann is one of WAIT DOES THIS SAY “THREE PROFESSIONAL CHEESE SCULPTORS IN THE U.S.?” THREE? Good gravy, what are you Occupy Whatever people so worked up about? Sure, there’s a terrifying income disparity and the economy remains, in the words of Tim Geithner, “a boiling vat of bubbling stinky donkey parts” but you live in a country that can support THREE PROFESSIONAL CHEESE ARTISTS. Let’s have a little more brightside, hippies.
Anyway anyway, Kaufmann is known as “the Cheese Lady,” which is a pretty sharp nickname (KA JING). According to NPR, her work includes a life-size Santa Claus and a model off the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. And she pays the bills by creating art for weddings, parties, corporate groups and dairy associations, the latter of which has probably been waiting for someone like her for centuries.
The sculptures, she says, can survive for eight weeks if cared for properly, which brings me to my MUCH BETTER IDEA: Since the country is clearly being overrun with a massive wave of burgeoning cheese artists, I will instead turn my interests to being The Person Who Properly Cares For Cheese Sculptures That Already Exist. I plan to do this pretty much by slathering the sculptures in rubber cement, except for the chunks I will tear off with my hands and feast upon as my payment. In this economy, you have to improvise. One day NPR will do a story on me.