24/10/16 I wrote this post a few years ago in my old website. Since moving to my current one, I feel the need to reaffirm the message in the post. It still spells the approach to my small cottage based business.
Before I even knew that there was something called the “slow movement” (aside from “slow food movement”), I’ve had moments in my crafting life when I’ve wondered whether I had just coined something new – “slow craft movement”- the idea of craft with depth and quality which often means getting used to the idea of “slow” and not rushing time. But of course like all good ideas and thoughts, I’ve come to know since, that there is an actual school of thought in this area.
Elaine Lipson’s article “Slow Cloth – what’s it all about?” in issue 22 2010 of The Wheel magazine (http://lainie.typepad.com/AshfrdWheelSlowCloth.pdf) brought home for me this point. Although she talks of the “slow cloth” movement, it encapsulates and articulates for me what the “slow movement” is in relation to my crafting life. The points that Lipson raises are “recognition of joy in the process”, “way to be contemplative”, “recognition of diversity and multicultural history”, “honouring….teachers and lineage”, “sustainable use of materials and resources”. There is a “celebration of quality, beauty, community and expression of individuals or cultures.” All these facets brought out by Lipson as well as the point that this is not a “project or technique but a relationship” to my work and life with my crafting life has been a joyous revelation.
Afterthought: I’ve come to appreciate that as much as the monetary benefits of my crafting life is an important factor, I can’t allow that to be the bottomline. In order to enjoy the above aspects of the philosophy behind “slow cloth”, I need to be able to settle for less as far as financial gain. As an example, it takes me about 8 hours to weave a scarf. It would cost a customer a fortune if I factored that in. But I add the intrinsic value that I’ve gained in the weaving process and the joy and satisfaction achieved at the end. I add to it the “calm and quiet” and sense of peace as I weave along. I do not factor in the rigours of the repetitive movements on the arms and back or the fact that I am dependent on a second person to help me set up the loom at the start (usually coaxing one of the kids with a financial incentive).
Slow craft means finding a balance with everything around me. It is part of being in a harmonious relationship with those close to me. I often depend on them. The product of my slow craft is something created outside of the confines and expectations of a rushed, stressed and driven existence. You may have to wait for it but hopefully it will be worth it in the end.