16 September 2009

Knitting, weaving, beading -- the tradition...

This is going to be the first of many (I hope) posts about an idea that is brewing in my head.   I am always amazed, and very drawn to traditional, practical textiles.  I am stunned at the talent these women have.  Be it a beaded medicine bag like this one made by plains indiginous peoples, or the Orenburg lace shawls that Galina brought to a class I went to years ago, I marvel at how they took the time to make something they would use every day look so beautiful!   These are things that were not just thrown together.  They took great amounts of time.  Where did we lose this?  We run in our cars to the closest discount store to buy cheap bags made by impoverished people making pennies per hour.  And we dont just buy one that might be needed.  We buy in quantity.  A bag to go with every outfit, to match every pair of shoes (you know, the cheap flip-flops in aisle 10 of that same discount store...).  Now yes, I admit I have fallen into this trap over my short 40 some years of living, but I have been giving this alot of thought.  It usually happens with a visit to the local museums or investigaing and searching for just the right pattern to spend time working on.  Some of my favorite hand made items are ones that took great pains to make.  You spend time with them.  You get to "know" them in a very personal way.  If they are intended for gifting, they are hard to part with.  The person that is on the receiving end is almost certainly a special person. 
The average person is always amazed that you would spend so much time on one item and the conversation always ends in "I wish I had time (or the patience) to do stuff like that..."
I did not always have that patience.  I rushed through projects, pounded stuff out to give away like I was stamping out car parts.  Sure, some of it was kind of cool looking.  But most of it was just like the cheep crap you buy in dollar stores -- nasty fibers, hastily drafted patterns and all the love & care of taking out the trash or cleaning toilets. 
Now I am knitting/weaving/creating with a different frame of mind...trying to connect with these people in the past and some cultures in the present.  It is much more enjoyable for me this way...It is so much more than just producing an object...

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