Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slow Lace

Interweave Press newsletters are great for inspiring provocative thinking.

The latest Handwoven newsletter, for example, got me thinking about "slow cloth" and consequently "slow lace."

It explains the slow cloth concept as being "a lot like the slow food movement. The point is not to do it fast, the point is a deeper, better, richer, fuller experience. Plus a better product."

Machines can, and do, churn out laces at a cheap price point. Computerized sewing machines are even making headway at turning out lace that vaguely resembles tatting.

But handmade lace is by nature slow, and therein lies the joy.

I find making lace to be gratifying and pleasurable. Winding shuttles allows me time to dream about the end product I have pictured in my mind. Passing the shuttle back and forth to form stitches and watching the lace grow is a rhythmic, meditative, and aethetically pleasing process.

My fledgling knowledge of needle tatting suggests that it also fits the model for "slow lace."

So to all those who shrug off tatting as impractical and old-fashioned, I would ask, "what do you do for pleasure?"

Hobbies take many forms. Potters throw clay onto a wheel and mold it under their hands. Painters use color and brushes and canvas to interpret what they see. Dancers interpret music and emotions visually with their bodies.

Manipulating fiber (in this case, making lace) by hand gives me many hours of pleasure and a marvelous, zen-like calm. It also exercises my mind.

Tatting is my Calgon. When a long soak in a warm bath is impractical, the rhythm, the pace and the pleasure of tatting can still "take me away."


Agnieszka Winnicka said...

You couldn't be more to the point with your thinking. I find lace making very therapeutic, it calms me down, gives me time for reflection and believe it or not I totally lost interest in watching TV. I like my peace and quite while tatting, that makes me enjoy life and be very grateful for all I have.
Thank you for putting it into words :)

Tatfully Yours said...

You are so right about slowing down and enjoying our lace making. Even thou I am tatting to make a little money I am still enjoying the journey that the lace takes me on. I almost feel guilty about taking money for doing something I love so much.

Gina said...

Amen on that point sister! Good post. The joy is in the journey!

Miranda said...

Everything you say is so true. One point, though. I think that other artists and crafters usually do understand tatting. A drummer friend of mine watched me for a few minutes and said, "Oh, yeah, I can totally see what part of the brain that would satisfy. It's creativity and math and watching it grow in your hands. It's just like music!" Being a musician myself, I had to agree with him.

The ones who don't "get" it are the ones who don't have hobbies at all. I don't have a TV. Some people, when they hear this, look at me blankly and ask, "But what do you do for entertainment?" They truly can't imagine anything other than watching TV being enjoyable and relaxing. These are the people who will never understand tatting, or any other craft. All I can do is feel sorry for them.

shannon_in_love said...

I also agree with you. its my bubble bath. it gives me something to COMPLETELY focus on. I love the graceful movements of my hand. I feel so beautiful just tatting. i know it sounds weird but i do.

Cindy said...

I find all crafty things I do to be therapeutic and "slow" - however I have to admit, I don't always enjoy it the way I want to. There's no rush, but I find myself getting frustrated at the length of time it sometimes takes me to finish a project. I think my time constraints sometimes take a bit of the pleasure away because I want to see the finished product, and then I rush and don't do the work I'm capable of. Aaaarrgh! Then I'm annoyed with myself for rushing. I need to retrain my brain to enjoy the process!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! It's funny how many people tat because they love to tat - or that's what it seems like. It's lovely having the end product, but for me the joy is really in the making. I tat on the train to and from work, and it's a great way to relax, forget about the fact the train is late, and stop thinking about work. sometimes my fingers almost itch to start moving.

tattrldy said...

Oh, great post! I enjoy the motions of my hands while I tat, and the knowledge that something beautiful will be the end result. And the excitement of creating, slow tho it may be. I still tat while the TV is on, usually in the evenings sitting with my husband. But in the mornings when I get the chance to tat the TV is off. I just enjoy tatting whenever I get the chance! In this age of instant gratification a lot of people do see it as not worth it, but those of us who really enjoy crafting know the joy is in the process and the satisfaction is in the doing.