Friday, December 14, 2007

Slow Craft

Sharon B has a post on her blog today about slow craft. She refers to a new blog called Red Thread Studio that talks about slow craft and sustainable clothing markets. Both started me thinking. I don't make my own clothes anymore because it is cheaper to buy them and my sewing machine is not very portable. This is despite the fact that I do own a sewing machine, am an accomplished seamstress and at one time I made most of my wardrobe. Some of the clothes that I wear the most are things that I made even though I completed my last garment at least 6 years ago.

Instead, I make more things by hand. I like the slow process of knitting my own socks, doing hand embroidery, beading bracelets, or hand appliqueing a quilt top. I have the luxury of not needing to sell my handcrafted items to make a living so I can take all the time I want on them. I love the fact that at the end of the time I spend on embroidery or knitting, I have a finished product. The transformation of a hank of yarn, a collection of fabric scraps, a box of threads, or a jar of beads into something beautiful and perhaps useful is magical in the same way that the transformation of flour, water, salt, and yeast into bread is magical.

I do find that I have to adapt my projects to my lifestyle. Right now, I am better at completing portable projects than ones that require a lot of space, materials, or equipment. I find it easier to follow someone else's pattern or design than to make up my own. I like the challenge of modifying designs and creating my own works but it is comforting after a long day at work and taking children from one place to another to sit down with a pattern someone else developed and reproduce their design. These projects improve my technical skills and often teach me new things about fibers and color giving me tools to use when I have the time to sit down and work on my own designs. I like eating bread that I baked myself and wearing socks that I knit myself.

Note: The two Christmas Stand Ups pictures are Better Not Pout from Shepherd's Bush and Yule Stack by the Trilogy.

1 comment:

  1. As I read your post, I was sitting here nodding in agreement. I, also, find myself doing more things by hand and cooking by scratch. Watching the shelves fill with jars of things that I canned out of my own garden, snuggling under a crocheted afghan or wearing a pair of knitted socks are just a few of things that really seems to give me great satisfaction. Elizabeth Zimmerman always spoke of how the fingers remember things that our ancestors did - and it sure seems that way some times.

    Thanks for a great post!