I sometimes find it difficult to answer people who ask why I love working with fiber. After all, they invariably ask (and it always sounds a bit vacuous to me), isn’t it easier to go to the local store and just buy whatever it is I’m making?
There are so many reasons fiber artists take the time to create garments, toys, linens and an array of other projects. I have two key reasons:
1. Fiber artists are not only creating memories; they sustain and add color and texture to memories. For example, now that I live a 10 hours’ drive north from my daughter and her family, Granddaughter F frequently goes to bed wearing something I’ve knit her; it keeps me close. And on the highest shelf of her bookshelf sits a red and white poodle, knit by my mother’s farster (paternal aunt) Margit, so that’s Granddaughter F’s great-great-great-aunt Margit) for me when I was born.
2. For many, the actual process of weaving, knitting or crocheting is key – more so than the outcome. For instance, I enjoy warping the loom more than actually sitting down and weaving! Others will knit and crochet constantly but gift most of their projects. If you’re working with high quality yarns (nb: “high quality” does not necessarily mean expensive!), you’re creating garments and projects that can last many generations. The cotton filet crocheted cover on my bed, for instance, was made by the mother of my morfar (maternal grandfather) as a wedding present to my morfar and mormor (maternal grandmother).
Renate Hiller, former co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York, eloquently sums explains her reason. (Many thanks to G-Ma Ellen’s Hands’ March 2, 2014 post.)
How do you respond when people ask you why you spend so much time with your craft, art or hobby?!