It is as though the fabric itself is imbued with accumulated stories
and by continuing to use it,
the stories in the fibers not only stay put, but also get to keep unfolding in ways that might never have been predicted decades, or days before.
Two weeks ago I posted about fixing my running shoes and in the comments Lisa asked:
"At what point does the "Ship of Theseus" kick in and they become not the original shoes?"
And certainly once I've covered up all of this-beloved-but-vanishing linen-that-was-once-my-favorite-favorite-jacket with chain stitch,
the nature of this particular bag will be quite different.
Or perhaps it'll demand a fresh purpose.
Being stuffed to the gills with spindles and pens and notebook and wallet and phone and empty bags for whatever I might find, or unceremoniously twisted into a sort of a backpack while I bicycle downtown, or hanging patiently on a hook waiting for me to do something--anything--out in the world and away from the studio, is probably not that much fun.
But it will be usable, which is the point.
than I have about the hand spun wool with which I've been weaving for most of the winter.
Setting aside the widely different nature of the two materials for a moment
(not least the ability of my camera to focus easily on linen and not so much on wool),
with the wool I am careful and careless at once and work with familiar ease.
We, the yarn and I, already have a history together and therefor a kind of casual trust.
I know what to expect from it even as together we make something new.
Its flaws are my flaws and therefor both forgivable and irritating.
Like a piece of clothing I've been wearing forever.
Or shoes I made for my feet.
With the linen (which I inherited, unlabeled, from a retired weaver), all is new,
all unknown, and though I can admire its sheen and color and texture, it is not until I've leaned against the backstrap for a few hours,
not until I've unrolled and washed and stroked the yards of cloth, that I begin to feel a connection with its future.
It's not bad. Indeed, it is exciting.
Until yesterday though, I hadn't been able to name the difference.
Note: Margaret Sunday wrote a wonderful piece for ATA talk, a forum for members of the American Tapestry Alliance which you might think about joining if you are not already a member, about the inherent creative possibilities of the juxtiposition of the new and the familiar: "...we are simultaneously neophobes (haters of the new) and neophiles (lovers of the new). Where/ when the two qualities meet, ie: where their contrast is most intense, is the ah-ha!"
Nor is it a belief that my labor is so precious.
Indeed, one of the many reasons for making and mending my own things (particularly if I can connect with the material from the very beginning), is because I'm distressed by how little others (usually women, at least in the garment industry), are respected for their labor.
My hands and the work they do are in no way more important or valuable than anyone else's.
It's just that they are mine to use and abuse and admire as I will.
So I've grown attached.
As I do.