V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Friday, August 27, 2010

Slow Planet, Slow Life, Slow Food, Slow Craft, Slow Cloth

Lots of discussion going on in the blogosphere about slowing things down.  Starting with Slow Planet, Slow Movement, Slow Life, Slow Food, Slow Craft, and Slow Cloth to name only a few personal favorites.  I am a professional handweaver, weaving bath towels from Belgian linen. The most often asked question I hear is, "How long does it take to weave one of these?" When I educate people about how long it actually takes from design concept, to importing the yarn (because there is no one yet in the Americas that processes flax as beautifully as Europe. We are in our infancy in that venture), to winding the warp, threading the loom, and finally weaving the linens, hemming and finishing, and then traveling across the United States selling my wares, people are quite amazed at how long it takes to actually weave a towel! We are so used to instant everything that we even expect handmade crafts to be quick and easy too. There are ongoing discussions about 'Slow Cloth' and 'Slow Craft' that highlight the fact that 'High Craft' takes time, thought, skill and in every piece is the investment of a bit of the artist's soul. I have been honored recently to have been selected to show at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco and the One of a Kind Shows in Chicago and in New York. The level of artistry and craftmanship, and pride in a job well done is evident at every booth in these shows. I remember going to one of these shows while in my 20's for the first time and finding the experience absolutely exhilerating, stimulating, inspiring, and even a bit untouchable.  But around every corner there was joy!!  Everywhere there was creative energy!  Color and texture, sparkle and richness, uniqueness and a wealth of stories!  Prices were beyond my means then, but the experience has stayed with me a lifetime!

Craft is not about popsicle sticks, glitter and glue that keeps young ones occupied for a rainy afternoon.  Rather, craft or 'High Craft' should be defined as:  designing and making something by hand without taking shortcuts; and accepting that there is value in taking the time to be involved in the whole process, to have learned and honed a craft to a fine skill, and to understand the craft intimately, and that there is an investment of self in each project.

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