I’ve now finished the rough draft of my intro. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â It will take me nearly a year to complete.
I am making my wedding dress.
Why am I doing this? Â 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. Â 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. Â And, for me, it has spiritual meaning – it is my connection to the Divine, and my offering to the Divine as well. Â 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. Â 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. Â But that is not fundamentally why I craft, and I don’t believe it is why others craft either. Â 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. Â We craft because we enjoy the process of making. Â 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. Â 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.