I am actually an old lady disguised as a twenty-something year old female. How do I know this? Well aside from actually being said old lady in disguise, I do have a few other indicators. Where shall we start? Hmm How about the fact that I knit? No, No. Knitting is Haute Couture right now isn’t it? Ok what about Crochet, Weaving and my personal favorite; Spinning.
On top of that tonight I found myself googling another lost love; Bobbin Lace Making. I get all nostalgic about tiny threads and hanging wooden bobbins. Only I have no personal memories of this, to the best of my knowledge no one in my family has ever made lace. Lace making is older than most people imagine. Colonists were limited in their patterns by the scarcity of pins and yet still managed to make intricate, delicate lace. Supplies were often ordered from the home land, namely England. Lace making was the day to day gift of the wealthy nobles wives, often as a group activity. Before television and radio women gathered at the feet of a reader who would recite poetry or read aloud popular writings of the day. Poor women would scavenge items to make their own bobbins and pillows were often stuffed with grasses. They would work tirelessly on lace to sell to the local mercantile to help support their families.
I have fantasies of sitting with my pillow on my knee designing the newest edging, tablecloth or lingerie. This is much the same feeling I get walking through a fiber fair, the sights drawing me in, seducing me. They speak to me of times gone by, of gifts passed down through generations. They remind me that everything is precious and as such it is worthy of preserving. I know I may sound like a terrified, pack rat of age old skills but I believe that we stand a chance of losing them. These skills whether passed down through doting grandmothers of picked up on our own through books and websites link us to our history.
So yes, I may seem older than my skin, but I enjoy telling the stories our ancestors can no longer tell. I do this through my art, as do you through yours. So next time you reach for your needles, fiber or whatever your medium, remember those that went before you.The skills you enjoy today may become the memory of a future generation.
Thank you as always for listening.