I started a mailing list - and this is my first letter...
Right now, I want to share an idea.
At this time we have a unique ability to embrace a world of hand-made objects because so many people are taking the time to make them, and peoples' habits of consumption have changed.
As a result of the pandemic, for instance, I stopped shopping for entertainment.
That and always being at home with my stuff made me reconsider what I needed, what I wanted, and how I use things. I had to reconsider the value of objects.
All of the manufactured items we have in our home were, in the past, fashioned by ourselves or other people. My father used to tell me that when he was very young, ninety years ago, peoples’ clothes were generally made one garment at a time, tailored to that specific person. Now, of course, almost all clothes, and many other things we live with are ready made. And, yeah, this is over simplified.
But, with the pandemic, where we’ve had some time on our hands, many people have turned to making things they needed themselves. We’ve been growing some vegetables, getting out the sewing machines to make masks, and even cutting up plastic bags to knit with ‘plarn’.
Not only that, but a lot of people have turned to crafting and there now is an abundance of on-line artisan shops filled with unique hand made goods. That's a lot of art! And, the really neat thing is these crafted objects connect us to the makers. When we use these crafted items we invite others into our daily lives in a subtle but meaningful way. Holding a handmade object is, well, holding an other person's hand.
In thinking about making art and trying to spread it around I recognize that anything that is crafted communicates - it holds not only the maker's intentions, but also the time-space-actions of the person who make it. And when we pick up that thing we hold, not only the history of that persons space-time-actions, but also something of their thoughts, their consciousness. Is this like dharma – or spooky action at a distance?
I think more handmade things might be helpful in our lives at this time where it is difficult to be with other people. Probably also a good antidote to stress. One has to be a bit more mindful using something handmade.
That’s it for now. Just a train of thought. What do you think?