My earliest 'making' memories were of weaving together dandelion chains in the yard with other kids from our apartment complex, and of clumsily sewing shapes and lines into my little night shirts with the needle and thread from a tiny travel sewing kit I fell in love with at the neighborhood gas station. I was in pre-school and nothing fascinated me more than the process of creating something from nothing; of transforming the mundane into the beautiful; of creating use out of the useless.
It makes sense that I would love using peyote stitch in my jewelry so much -- because each piece begins as hundreds of tiny, uninteresting pieces, that are only given interest and value once stitched together and made into something whole.
As a kid, I often watched my great grandmother Hedwig knit -- her needles moving long into the evening -- and witnessing an uninspiring ball of yarn become an intricate web of stitches that would eventually become a blanket, was totally mesmerizing. Watching her make actual things helped connect my interest in 'making' with a real sense of purpose.
And so many go through life without ever having a sense of purpose.
I've been thinking a lot about purpose lately and how it relates to access. Specifically, I've been thinking about how even though I often didn't have access to physical resources, I was lucky enough to have a couple people in my life who I could look to as examples who were living lives of purpose that were either driven by, or at least incorporated, making/craft. I'm realizing how precarious a venture finding purpose actually is and how much one's likelihood of discovering purpose is linked to their ability to see pursuit and passion in action.
Without the examples of those around us, how would we ever know what's really possible for us and how to achieve it?
This is one of the reasons I'm so excited to be a part of a growing makers community in Knoxville and helping to come up with more ways to bring visibility to the maker community here and at large -- because there are so many kids/people out there who are inherently creative, and grasping for value and purpose, but don't have a grandmother to watch late into the evening, or a class at school that sparks an interest, or the opportunity to to go to camp to discover new skills.
I'm not sure what the answer is, but my wheels are turning, and the more the better, so let me know if you want to meet up and turn some together.
RIP Hedwig Becker -- you were a badass bitch and I'm so thankful I got to watch you knit even though it annoyed the crap out of you :)