I’ve now finished the rough draft of my intro. Here it is:
I stand in my weaving studio, patiently measuring out miles of fine silk thread, gathering it in neat bundles, readying it to go on the loom. I will be weaving twenty yards of fabric – double the usual yardage, because my loom is narrow – and because I am weaving with fine silk, I’m guessing it will take me two months to weave. Later, after weaving, I will wet-finish the fabric – washing it and then pressing it dry, “polishing” it with the iron, over and over, to bring up the shine – and start sewing muslins, eleven in all, to perfect the fit. Finally, I will cut and sew my precious handwoven cloth, using many slow, hand-worked stitches in the haute couture tradition, and then embellish it with French lace and real pearls. It will take me nearly a year to complete.
I am making my wedding dress.
Why am I doing this? Why spend thousands of hours over the course of a year to make a single garment, when wedding dresses can be bought for as little as a hundred dollars?
Because weaving and sewing my own wedding dress brings me joy. It is a working meditation, connecting me to the present moment, reminding me of my love for my fiance, and joining me to a long series of artisans throughout history who have shared my love of working with my hands. And, for me, it has spiritual meaning – it is my connection to the Divine, and my offering to the Divine as well. By working on something beautiful, I invoke the Muse, and she responds.
I wonder sometimes why crafters – every one of whom has been asked why they make when they can buy – generally speak first of the superior quality of their work. It is true that a handwoven, couture-sewn wedding-dress is not cheap – mine was appraised for $27,000 once complete – and that it is certainly better quality than a synthetic, gaudy wedding-dress from an outlet store. But that is not fundamentally why I craft, and I don’t believe it is why others craft either. We craft because we love working with our hands, because we enjoy the meditative aspects of craft, because we love the feel of the tools in our hands. We craft because we enjoy the process of making. While it is wonderful that our making produces better-quality, unique work, if we didn’t enjoy the making, it would not be worth the laborious hours.
- Why craft?
- Joy in experience
- Connection through making
- and oh yes, an end product
- Learning your craft
- how to learn
- how to most productively think about your work
- Practicing your craft
- how to do/design
- original vs. copied/derivative work
So far I’m really enjoying writing it. I probably won’t share it all as I work, but I’ll include nuggets from time to time, as I come across sections that are suitable for posting.