Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why Is Making By Hand Important to You?

This seems to be the year of re-discovering my knitidentity. I've been answering these questions of for whom, what, where, when, and how do I knit almost instinctively this year. I am usually the kind of person who does things first and figures out why afterward, so it makes sense to me that I would dig into this now, 10 years after I started falling in love with this craft.

When I saw that Melanie Fallick was writing a book on making things by hand and wanted quotes for the book (see her blog post here) it made me stop and think.

Why is making things by hand so important to me? It's never been something I asked myself. Growing up I was attracted to art. I colored, I drew, I made latch hook rug things. My father's mother used to collect shells or coral (before we really knew that it was a bad thing to take coral from its natural environment) and she'd bring these back to us when we were little. I don't quite know how or why it started, but we began to color the shells with markers. My father's sister used to create pottery (we had her wheel for quite a while. I always kind of was hoping to get to use it but didn't get a chance to before my parents did something with it), and my grandmother used to love to draw.

But I suspect my mother's side is more where the compelling drive to work with my hands comes from. My mom dabbles in many fiber crafts, but hasn't really gotten obsessed with any the way I have. My grandfather worked in textile mills in Massachussets (In Lowell? Near Lowell?) before going to the Korean War and then school on the GI bill. My grandmother, though, has always seemed to me to be an expert in all fiber arts. She knits, embroiders, sews, weaves, and crewells as well (those kits are HARD to find these days!). So I've not only had an example of handmade around my whole life, but I've always had some sort of creative influence flowing through me as well.

I make things with my hands because I need to. Making with my hands is, I would say, such a part of me that it almost defines who I am.

I am a doer.
I am a creator.
I am a maker.

I'm not honestly sure what I would do with my hands if they weren't working on a project. As it is, when I'm at work or driving anywhere I pick at my fingers, the nail (unless they're painted), the cuticle, the skin around them. I destroy my fingers when they aren't otherwise busy. They sometimes bleed and get painful.

TL:DR: I make things with my hands to prevent auto-canibalization.

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