Sunday, 28 October 2012

Handmade treasures

This is my 100th post and it feels like I am finally coming to the point. You see, Ive been thinking about what would be the ‘thing’ that is most precious to me, the tangible something outside the realm of the incomparable and irreplaceable, such as family, human relationships, nature and this planet itself, for these surely are the only issues that truly matter in the end. But if the larger-than-life things are set aside, what would be the one category of possessions I would find the hardest to part with if need be?

I love books and have quite a lot of them but most books could be borrowed from a library. I enjoy music but you could continue enjoying it without owning a single CD. The same is true about movies (I’m so lucky our home cinema system is my husband’s so it doesn’t count here). My jewellery is more of the pretty than precious kind; according to Colour Me Beautiful Im a Summer meaning that silver compliments my skin tone so I only have a few golden pieces. (Im starting to see a pattern here: all the valuables first coming to my mind seem to be somehow related to the arts. Shame on those who think art is a waste of time and money!) Most of the other things I own could be replaced or given away without too much distress. But there is something...

For quite some time now, it’s been clear to me that what brings me joy the most are (old) handmade items, especially anything from the past decades that has been handcrafted with care out of yarn or fabric. My mother was very skillful at many kinds of handicrafts. When we were young she earned a living through them for years. You might have started to hate the sewings and weavings and all kinds of needlework that were always present at your home when you were a child but I learned to try some of them, to appreciate them and finally to love them. So did both my sisters, the younger one to such an extent she chose an artisan occupation; she is an entrepreneur in dressmaking.

I do have a soft spot also for many other sorts of handmade objects, such as hand-painted porcelain probably thanks to my great-aunt who was very clever at that kind of work, but I adore handcrafted textiles, particularly those kinds that have been the tradition here. I can’t get enough of them, of admiring them, of fingering them.

But what is the use of owning gorgeous uplifting things if you keep them hidden piled up in your cupboards and closets? I’ve only just recognized there will never come a time when I would have all my little handmade treasures organized and at display, at least if I’m treating them the way I’ve done so far.

Starting from today, I’m sharing this love of mine with you. The kick-off item is a topical one but very modest: a simple canvas work anyone with a little bit of patience could do. This kind of needlework was popular a few decades ago. So although the pattern is not local – our elks are more robust and our deer have less stately antlers – the item most probably is of domestic doing. I hope it finds its way to please the eyes of a few fellow handicraft lovers. If there is anyone out there who would like to copy the pattern please feel free to do so. And if you do I’d love to hear about it. (So much loving in this post; isn’t life great!)

I found this piece at a thrift shop some years ago. I keep it hanging on the wall of our glassed-in veranda by the main door from the time of the first autumn leaves until spring. Its wonderful bright colours cheer me up every time I step out of the door. If only I could stand the cold and step that way more often. Yes, it is our first snow you can see gleaming through the window here.

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