2021 - March President's Message
I am sure you have been asked “Why weave cloth, when you can buy it for less and it is already made?” Indeed, why do weavers weave, why do spinners spin? Why do we knit or own socks, sweaters and yet another shawl? It has me thinking, similarly why do we bake our own bread, make our own jam, make our own cheese, or make our own shortbread? It is often more expensive than buying it in the store, especially if you add the time spent.
Maybe we bake bread and knits socks for the some of the same reasons we weave and spin. Superior quality and control over recipe and ingredients (or design and materials) come to mind. Or maybe the end goal is for the item to meet a particular purpose or occasion.
But quality, control and purpose seem too simplistic an answer. Our pursuit, I believe, is loftier. I think we have the luxury and privilege of enjoying a more spiritual connection to both the process and the end results of our weaving and spinning - the joy and pride of everything from designing, to choosing and combining colors, to gazing upon the final squishy yarn or finished weaving we have created; or the meditative quality of rhythmically treadling the wheel, treadling the shafts or throwing the shuttle with attention half focused on the task and half wandering to explore new areas of personal growth or understanding; and the learning, problem solving, and often surprise as our ideas and creations either meet our artistic vision or travel their own path to a better than imagined, acceptable, or even failed end result. (Yes, I think we can be joyful we have the privilege of having a failed result, even if it doesn’t feel so great in the moment!)
Admittedly, I have been asked this question and thought they were lobbing a put down within the subtext of the question. But I am kind of thankful that several people have asked it over the years, and unwittingly given me a chance to really examine what motivates me to spin, weave, knit, and bake bread. I can answer that question with more clarity and insight, which hopefully motivates them to try their hand at creating something in whatever corner of the creative space they choose.
Happy spinning, weaving, knitting, baking … stay safe and stay warm!