I was recently reading a book about tapestry weaving. As you know, weaving has been around for centuries and is found in many cultures. People wove to make wearable fabrics, but they also wove to make pictures that tell a story. The amount of work and detail that went into these woven pieces, especially the pictures is really amazing. In our modern time we have machines that will make items faster and cheaper, which is great. Those machines can make a lot, but they don’t quite capture the character of what handmade items have.
When you’re working on a weave for yourself, you have the freedom to add whatever you want. You can experiment and pull the weave apart if something doesn’t work out, then start anew. You aren’t limited in the way that machines and bottom lines are.
I was recently at a big box store that was selling woven wall hangings. They were really flat looking, even though they had textures like the pile weave, they still just looked very flat. Just like a rag rug you might use on the floor. And I get it, for the store’s business model, this is what works.
With a weave that I or someone else worked on, you can see all the personality in it. I think the personality comes through in the minor flaws. Obviously a handmade weave with major flaws is no good, but I’m talking about all those really small minor flaws. Like maybe one stitch on a plain row is slightly higher then the rest, or your fringe isn’t 100% straight across. It’s all those little cues that you pick up on, maybe even subconsciously, that let you know a person took the time to make this. That is where I see the magic in handmade items.
A while back, when I was in college, I had knitted my mom a shawl as a present. I spent a good amount on nice yarn and it took me a while (I’ve never been a fast knitter). In the end the shawl turnout out nice, but from a store point of view, it wouldn’t be worth the amount of money spent on supplies and my time. And even knowing this, I was ok with that because that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was able to make something for my mom myself. Each row I knitted was for her and that made the shawl even more special.
I like to look for those little bits of magic in our everyday. All those times where people took that extra step (or many extra steps) to make something special that you can’t find everywhere.
Did you make any gifts for people? Or receive any handmade gifts? Do these items also hold extra special meaning for you?
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