Monday, December 24, 2007

Slow Cloth

Related to my recent topic on Slow Art, is the ongoing topic of Slow Cloth. This topic is still around and still creating interest from much of the Craft/Art section of the internet. I have found it popping up in places that are not related to the usual blogs I read.

However, on Red Threads, Lainie was again talking about it - it is part of blog mission. Sharonb has been talking about it on her blog as well too. Talking about slowing down, talking about the traditions of slow cloth, of creation and community. How can there be creation without community. Part of my response to Lainie's blog are as follows:

I am really enjoying following the exploration of this topic. When I lived in PNG many years ago, the making of bilums (native bags) was done in this sort of community environment. Rather like the quilting bee. I suppose now that we have more transient societies/communities, we try to form this sort of community through our online contacts. If I am honest, it is part of the reason I signed up for Sharonb's challenge for this year.

Many people may try to justify their crafts as art, in which case, they seem to be loosing the plot.

The traditions which come with slow cloth allow us to draw from the past in order to create the future in what we do now. In some respects, too, it is making our own traditions. Those of us who have no family tradition in this respect must draw on the traditions of others. I feel a great respect and gratitude towards those others that they feel enough care about their work to share it so that people like me can learn and incorporate it.

Now I have to teach my children and grandchildren, so that somewhere it becomes "my" family tradition as well. And maybe one day we can spread it out to the world as well.

I think the time it takes to do anything, not as a measure of hours and days, but that we do not pace ourselves against a clock is always relevant. It is like the magazine that offers to let us create things in 10 minutes. Mostly by using precut things, pre glued, as like stickers, and pre written. When you make "art" like this, I always wonder why you don't just go out and buy a commercially available equivalent. Not only is it not really hand made, no one appreciates it truly as handmade, and therefore is much of a waste of time. Whereas if you cut the original yourself, even using a pattern, take time to fossick in your various embellishment containers, use glue, or better still, a needle and thread, and using an actual pen to write with. Or failing that take the time to use stamps and embossing powder. Make it look as though some actual time, effort and the biggie, THOUGHT, went into it. In paper craft, nothing says time taken, thought and care like punching holes and using a needle and thread.

And I guess while I am on this train of thinking. Perhaps one vital omission has been made by everybody. How much care and of your heart goes into anything?

I breed horses. Every foal I have bred I have become attached to, I think foals are the most wonderous babies of all. I handle them from birth and teach them things so that they are able to live comfortably with humans. However, I become very attached to those babies, and when it comes time to sell them, I really cry and grieve for that baby. Needless to say, I do not breed many horses. It is too emotionally draining for me.

In the same way, when I make anything, my sewing, my embroidery, my cross stitching and my paper arts, there is alot of me and my emotions in the end product. Thusly, I do not make many that are for sale. I do give away things, and I am happy to trade item for item, but selling is a different kettle of fish. It is not the money that is the problem, but knowing or not knowing if it has a "forever" home. Which is why I cry and grieve for my foals.

My things that I produce are a part of me.

Maybe that is the intrinsic meaning of slow cloth and slow art.


Jane said...

I enjoyed reading about your thoughts of Slow Cloth, also about what a bilum is. Thanks for sharing. Have a great holiday!

Alien Thoughts said...

Thanks Jane, you too.