Back in April I attended the Sweet Paul Makerie in Philadelphia, a weekend of creative classes, beautiful meals, and inspiring conversations. I met so many interesting people with whom I definitely want to stay connected.
During Spoon Carving class on the first morning, I sat next to Barbara, who works in trade finance on Wall Street, in an atmosphere that she says sucks the creativity out of her. She has been attending the Sweet Paul Makeries since they began in 2014 and considers them a creative life line. She is also a devoted Girls Scout leader.
In a recent email exchange with Barbara , I asked her why making by hand is important to her. Below is her response:
"I create with my hands because I'm afraid if I don't, I'll lose my true self. Creating helps me deal with the injustices of life, both the factual and the ones made by my own insecurities. I create with my hands because I need to see and small (yes, smell!) loveliness, color, texture, aroma. I need to run my hands in wool; smell colored pencils, oil paints and linseed; prick my fingers with pins; thread a needle time and time and time again; rip back; cast on; erase; trace; doodle; and sketch. My crafting teaches me patience, to see the beauty in everything, to look at people, to look at myself, enjoy every line and crevice. I believe patience is perseverance and there is something extraordinary in the ordinary."
So struck by Barbara's thoughtfulness, I immediately wanted to ask the same question of as many makers as possible. I'm interested in the answers on a very personal level and also as part of my research for my book (tentatively titled Making a Life and scheduled to be published in Fall 2018). And I'm thinking that these responses could possibly become part of the book.
So, with this post, I'm putting out a call. Here's how it goes:
1) Answer this question (in as few or as many words as you like): Why is making by hand important to you? Or just finish this sentence: I make with my hands because . . .
2) Include your name, where you live, and your age (or age range -- 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. is fine if that's what you prefer to share), your current favorite types of making (such as knitting, sewing, ceramics, block-printing, gardening, etc.), and a way for me to contact you if needed.
3) Share this question with other makers and ask them to respond as well. The more responses, the more interesting this will be.
4) Post your answer and the other information below in the Comments section or by emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5) Remember: I hope this will be fun and interesting for you to do. Stream-of-consciousness is fine. Don't feel like your response has to be "perfect" in any way.
To get this started, here is my own stream-of-consciousness answer about the role of making in my life:
I make by hand because it helps me to slow down and feel peaceful, grounded, and fulfilled in a world that moves too fast and is often too loud for me. It connects me to the past and to the present, to other makers around the world, and to a tactile and visual experience that is richer than a computer or smart phone screen can provide. It adds beauty to my life. It helps me to feel competent and safe.