Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Making Art

A few years ago, I was attending a seminar on historical re-creation; essentially, classes, lectures and demos on how to be a recreator. Or at least how to look and act more authentic when you attended your local Renaissance Faire or Civil War event - unless you are one of those happily eccentric types who thinks any historical event is an excuse for Halloween, and like to dress up as a fairy or a Klingon ...

Naturally, there was a lively market section, with all manner of hand crafts, clothing, weapons and assorted accessories for sale. There was a needlework booth, where I naturally gravitated. Mind you, I was crocheting at this time, not knitting; but the yarns were all hand-spun and dyed and quite delicious. And there were wooden hooks, which at that time were harder to find than wooden knitting needles.

The proprietor was sitting and knitting socks. She was using 4 needles instead of a circular needle, and I was instantly captivated. The first time you see someone knitting in the round with multiple needles can take you like that - it just looks astounding! It only took a few minutes to see how the trick worked - you just divide what would be a continuous circle into several arcs - and I was enthralled. The play of the needles, as delicate as bird bones - the intricate geometry of the fabric shaped between the constantly shifting sticks - the psychotically tiny stitches!

I wanted to do that. Not necessarily to make a sock, but to make that kind of beauty. I wanted to be part of that overwhelming pattern, and let it flow through me.

I think it's one of the hallmarks of the artist or crafter, that urge. To look at something lovely and not say: That's beautiful and I want to possess it. But to say instead, That is Beauty and I want it to possess me.

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