Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lost arts and why they matter

How do we value a gift of a handcrafted item? Painting, woodworking, woven, knitted; the list is extremely long. How do these things make us feel? Do we feel differently if we ourselves have tried the particular craft in the past? How well can we understand objects or material things when what we know comes only through writings or pictures?

How can we appreciate people’s relationships to objects in the past when those objects have not survived, or even when they have and we know little or nothing about what it takes to create those things? What can be gained in having direct “hands-on” knowledge of made objects?

And really, what do I mean? Well by example: I took wood shop in Junior-high (yes, and I was not the only girl to do so.) I made a note board thingy and a chess board. I didn’t really enjoy it. But I learned how to use all the power tools- table saw, jigsaw, planer, etc. What did I learn? Woodworking was NOT my thing, but it did make me appreciate all the more handmade gifts made of wood. It made me understand why someone would keep a handmade item that may seem insignificant. There is something beyond the physical that is transferred with the gift.

It is my personal observation that emotions can be expressed through objects in unique ways that cannot be captured by language. A connectedness to the past ensues for me that I do not possess the language skills to impart to others. I have not seen anyone else that has either. A feeling of serenest come to me as I craft something for someone; whether a quilt for a new baby, or a prayer shawl or blanket for someone fighting for their life or nearing there exit from this plane.

I cannot possibly go through all of the handcrafts there are, but these are the ones I find the most connectedness to the past with, and the most resonance towards the future.

The art of quilting goes back to Ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages. Quilted clothing was used for light armor, and eventually under heavy metal armor as padding from the armor and the blows it received.
Quilted bedding was used for warmth and comfort. Tapestries were used to cover drafty castle walls and provide some color in to the dank castle interior. Some people still hang quilts and tapestries for this purpose.
This is a quilt that is attached (with Velcro so I can change it) to my front door. It provides insulation from the cold and sound beyond what the door provides.

Wall quilts over the fireplace change to suit the season or my moodJ

Net making
I wish I had all of these net making tools-being able to make your own netting is useful. While I do not use nets to fish---Netted bags make good grocery and beach bags.

Do you know what a lucet is?

A lucet is a tool used in cordmaking/ braiding. This tool is believed to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods. It can be used to create cords that are used on clothing, or to hang items from the belt. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy.

You can also have a double lucet- it creates a thicker, sturdy, can be two-color cord. It is essentially working two single lucets slotted together perpendicularly.
A lucet is pretty much a staple need if you do any Renaissance fairs or such to get period looking, hand made cord.

Crochet, knitting, tatting, Embroideries of all sorts-as I said earlier—the list is pretty big. Give something a try-you never know what you may fall in love with