The russet leaves on my backyard maple are turning to fire, nights are more often cold and the pot on the stove holds heartier fare. It’s time for different tactile sensations and infusions of color along with the associated scents and flavors contributing to our life’s rhythm.
Have you made your plan for those longer colder evenings ahead? Perhaps you set aside an extra long novel or chose a selection of slow roasting recipes from your cache. So many of us have very active lives, how do you re-charge as Fall leads us to Winter?
For me it’s the time to take up needle and thread, to feel the work in my hands and watch the colors develop. Since childhood, when my mother introduced me to her love of embroidery, I’ve enjoyed the soothing rhythm of handwork, from the embroidery and sewing learned from my mother to the knitting and crocheting learned from my grandmother. The colorful lure and promise inherent in choosing spools and yardages, hanks and skeins preceded the days of the planning and production of the work. Under expert guidance I learned the satisfaction of the creative process and to put my faith and skill into a visualized outcome. My love of project-based work stems from this early training.
I like the continuity of perpetuating an ancient creative practice, because of course there was creative expression even in fiber arts’ earliest most practical beginnings. Beads on string served for commerce and also for adornment. Raw materials for clothing and the exquisite finished products from skilled hands both were highly valued.
Today of course we no longer rely on hand production for our clothing and household items. In fact very often it’s a luxury item. Still you can have the satisfaction of a cultural tradition, right there in your hands, whether you buy an embroidered blouse or receive the gift of a hand knitted shawl or hat. And you too can take a class or learn from friends and share the camaraderie of knowledge passed from hand and eye. There is a great comfort in the rhythmic pull of the thread, the clicking needles, the softness of the yarn. When you examine a row of the garter stitch pattern, admiring your neatly lined up stitches, you can appreciate the well-worn phrase “close-knit community” in a new way. On a cold night that’s where you will find the warm glow that comes from a creative activity shared across generations.
This is the first in a series on Fiber Arts
Photos by Claire Mauro