Fiber Arts are usually thought to be woman’s art. Penelope was at her loom.Identity 7 – MichelleSales The house-proud housewife’s needlework distinguished her and made her family seem precious and comfortable. When my daughter was born, my stepmother made her a dimity christening dress with Irish lace and tucks and a bonnet. Every stitch was sewn by hand. She said it was the only way she knew to get enough prayers into one little dress and bonnet. When my elderly aunt took a long time dying in the hospital, I sat with her and crocheted a baby blanket using my Russian grandmother’s pattern for a young friend’s new baby. These ways go very deeply into the human psyche. They defy definition as “craft” or even “fine craft” …they are art, life art, even though the execution can be very flawed, they retain a rich archetypal value.
Coral Garden by Cathy MendolaIt is only within the last 40 or 50 years that things likeHand made fabric by Jan Gerber “homemade,” “prayer,” “feeling precious” and having enough time at home to carefully and individually be “at home” has come into such a confusion of definition. It is part of having too much, personally and as a society. There are too many people doing too many things for us. We work too much outside our homes and bring the world too much into our homes with TV and computers. We haven’t enough time to exhale. We go to spas instead of our homes. Our young mothers are so tired. It used to be Dad was far away, but now Mom is also in Iraq or in London working hard away from home. Yet, one of the brightest “corporate” members of WAG crochets jewelry as she flies and waits in airports. Handwork is powerful.