Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Importance of Making

There has been a lot of talk and excitement at work lately about a Maker Lab, which will hopefully be starting up in September of this year. As well, one of our current exhibitions features artists who feel the need to "make".

Making has been a big part of my life, starting as a youngster with hole-punched pictures to embroider on, followed by tapestry, weaving, building, baking, pottery, painting, quilting and so on. Sometimes the making follows a given pattern, sometimes it is freely created from the mind and sometimes it is a melding of the two. The source of the creative idea never really mattered, as long as the hands were busy and the mind engaged (or, as in the case of my sock knitting sessions -- meditatively active).

I always accepted "making" as an ordinary part of my daily activities, and, in fact, feel quite unsettled at the end of the day if there hasn't been any making-time. I used to think it was an urge to "art", but have come to the realization that capital-A art is not my primary goal. I need to make, preferably with my hands. It has taken me a long time to put my finger on the problem, but I finally figured it out in the last little while and try my best to take some time each day to work on something that I am making, whether it be a knitted sock, a quilt square, a sample for an art class I will be teaching or a loaf of bread. A day without making is not a comfortable one for me, and I was quite happy to find out that there are other people who feel the same as I do. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Maker lab progresses and the idea sharing that will result from it.

Since my son went away to school, I spend a fair bit of time each evening in the rocking chair, taking care of our birds, who get out daily and love to sit on my knees (which means working at the sewing machine or the paint table is out of the question). I have enough hand-knitted socks at the moment, so was searching for another lap project to do while bird-watching. A colleague showed my a doll she had made, designed by Arne and Carlos, two fashion knitters who started to knit Christmas balls and dolls. I got the book for my birthday a few months ago and started in. It is a good project, and gives me a bit of variation from the socks (I'll save those for long car trips, now). I've already tweaked the pattern -- changed the style of the feet and added thumbs. Progress is not the fastest, as I can do only a few rows per night -- my fingers are also called upon to scratch a feathered head now and then. Here are two pictures of the doll in progress -- one from last weekend and one from yesterday (6 days later):

I'll be adding hair soon, and then can have fun with the clothing. Knitting this doll has reminded me of the other cloth dolls I want to create. I have a prom dress to finish, first, though!