My Creative Space
Seasonal changes often spur me on to organize, rearrange, move the furniture and generally cause the other inhabitants of the cottage to shake their heads in consternation. Today, I set about taking on the daunting task of going through my ribbons, trims and lacy bits. These things were all crammed and confused in the bottom drawer of my old dresser in the studio, making it quite a pickle indeed. I began sorting and untangling, overcome by the ungovernable task - I was just on the verge of throwing in the tea towel and calling it an exercise in futility. It was then I came across a small tattered unmarked box. Hmmmm, 'what's this?' I wonder. Inside was a length of lovely hand crocheted lace in spotless cream. A small note accompanied it, written in that sweet old fashioned ladies penmanship. The lace was a little Christmas gift to my grandmother, Harriet, from an old friend. "It's just a bit of crocheted lace to fit a 42 inch pillow case," the note rhymed. The note was dated 1947.
I remember, just after my grandmother died, my mother and I spent a harrowing week going through my grandparents house, sorting decades of stuff that she had accumulated. While much of the questionable items went into a garage sale, there were precious things given to family. I was happy to take home all the vintage lace trims I could find. Oh, how I love the vintage!
So, as I was doing my own sorting, I thought about my grandmother and her friends, my great grandmothers and their friends - coming across more antique lace, hand tatted intricacies, unfinished crochet and other little pieces of the past. I imagined their hands moving in rhythm, creating... making history. I carefully washed some of the stained pieces and hung them on the line to dry. As I did so, I was thinking - I am touching my history, generations of women from my family have made these beautiful things with their hands. Certainly, there are some bits that I have picked up from garage sales or second hand shops; I thought about those unknown women as well, how I am now connected to them, albeit in this tiny way, to their history.
It is no wonder to me, that we seem to be experiencing a renaissance of the handmade. In a world of disconnect, of automated options, of self-serve, of the disposable...there is a need to connect. When I receive something handmade, I feel connected to the maker. I can imagine the time and care (the heart and soul) that went into it's making.
In the back corner of the drawer, crumpled and stained with age, is an old 'Red Rose' flour sack. Inside there is an unfinished blouse, also yellowed and stained. It was made by my great grandmother, possibly 100 years ago. I never met her, I don't know much about her but, I can imagine her. She is sitting in a room, needle at hand, working the thread through the fabric. She does beautiful work. She sews from necessity still, she takes pride. She has looked up for a moment and pricks her finger, staining the collar. The blouse gets put aside, forgotten. Somehow this discarded or forgotten remnant has made it's way to me, has remained when so much has been lost. I love it, it connects me to her and to myself.
Now, at the end of the day, the ribbons remain all 'a-tangle', the trims are staging a coup, and little 'organizing' has been accomplished. I tell you what though, 'I've lace on the line under the last of the summer sunshine' and I needed this more than I can tell you. I feel humbled and tired and so good. I needed reminding and maybe a little whisper from the past. I needed to connect.
Now, go connect with the creative souls over here!