women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Strong Craft

History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.
- Joseph Conrad

I'm quite sure that all true professional artists, of every description, in all walks of life, whether their craft is painting, music, sculpture, medicine or anything, have one primary concern - mankind.
- Chico Hamilton

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
- Mother Teresa

You may have seen this editorial in the Huffington Post. It has caused quite an uproar in the internet community.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peg-aloi/tough-gals-do-they-still-_b_924507.html

My response:

“I am proud to be a knitter. My grandmothe­r won prizes; my mother ran a needlework store. My ancestors smile at me from heaven as I honor a time when women provided for their loved ones in the only ways open to them - by feeding, clothing, & comforting them.

I design knitting patterns for strong women who choose to spend their leisure time working with their hands & hearts. This is both meaningful and worthwhile­. Knitting paid for my children's college tuition & puts food on our table. That is an outcome of which any suffragett­e would be proud.

Many are drawn in this age of hands off technology and virtual entertainm­ent to the simpler, more tactile, & personal ways of satisfying our creative urges. Would you so malign a man who was involved with woodworkin­g? Is he "perpetuat­ing male stereotype­s"?

Clearly the writer has not spent any time investigat­ing the many alternativ­e patterns for skull caps, corsets, and the like. You can be a knitter and be as "strong" or "girly" as you like. The desire to work with our hands can be satisfied in a multitude of ways: some with skulls & crossbones­, & some with ethereal lace.

People who knit do so not out of some misguided desire to return to "women's" work or more repressive times. They knit because they are part of a community that values love, craftsmans­hip, beauty, art, and sustainabi­lity. They knit because they can. They knit because they care."


10 comments:

Holly said...

Now I want to create an ethereal lace shawl depicting skulls and crossbones. :)

Great response to a poorly written article.

christunte said...

I think it's a stupid article. In what way were the bar-burners strong? Most of them were just joining the crowds.
I'm happy that the internet is free - you can write what you want, and if you don't like a blog, then read another.....
Anyway. I love your response.

Laura said...

Well said - The article refers to TV characters as role models? Please- give me an everyday women trying to live her life the best way she can, caring for everyone & creating with hooks and needles any day!!! I don't live on TV or want too thank you very much!
Well said!

sheilag02 said...

Some of us ARE B----ES at work and we work LOTS of hours each week. Certainly true for me. However when I come home in the evening and on the weekends...I like to CREATE something that is MINE. I am not girly, but I AM a woman. And I LOVE to dig in the dirt to grow flowers and veggies and I can what produce I grow, to save $$ for my family's grocery plan. and I knit, read and do other creative things to relax and enjoy myself and have some fun.

Obviously this woman has not read many discussion boards on Ravelry or any other serious blogs for that matter...I haven't read many posts by women that I thought were "giving up" something, that weren't competent, intelligent and capable.

Besides who wants to be one sided?? Who wants to be only one thing?? I do a variety of things, enjoy a variety of things and know a variety of people with different interests...so I stay interesting, well rounded and intelligent.

I DOES take all kinds. :) So glad we have all found each other. :)

Keep up the good work, Susan!!

Donna Lee said...

I guess it all depends on your definition of "tough". I have never aspired to be "bad ass". Not my style. Does that make me any less tough than anyone else? I don't believe so.

I believe the women to admire are the ones who get up in the morning and do what has to be done. They get the kids off to school and do what ever their daily work entails and then take care of things in the evening, put the family to bed and if they're lucky, find some time for a bit of the hobby that brings them peace of mind at the end of the day.

I guess this touched a nerve because I can think of many many more things I'd like to say but maybe I'll save it for a blog post. Thanks Susan for the food for thought!

(and I'm proud to be a craftperson (I'm multicraftual), too.)

Marji said...

I am a feminist. I am well educated, articulate, and intelligent. I have raised two children successfully to adulthood. I have been married for 37 years. I have survived breast cancer. I learned to sew when I was 9 and to knit when I was 12 and I still love doing them both. Feminism is about making your own choices. To that young lady, I say a very mature pppppppbbbbbbbfffffffflllllllltttttt!

MIB said...

I just wanted to share my own response to that "editorial":

"I would hope that Ms. Aloi, who, according to her bio, teaches media studies at the College of Saint Rose, would give any student of hers who turned in an essay like this a stern warning about the importance of doing research to back up your arguments.

I am a woman who has overcome quite a bit of adversity in my personal life, is a feminist (and attended a kick-ass women's college), and also regularly hauls 50-lb feed bags, helps slaughter and butcher animals for food, raises heirloom vegetables because I'm concerned about preserving genetic diversity, knows how to use a chainsaw, helped raise a two-story barn, acts as a livestock midwife (trying sticking your hand inside a goat to reposition a stuck kid, baby), drives a tractor, makes soap from scratch (have you ever gotten a lye burn? that's tough!)--a­ll while holding down a full-time office job--and, you guessed it, knits. Oh, and I also own a Trinity-es­que leather coat that's gotten me a ton of compliment­s in goth/indus­trial clubs (if that's the only aesthetic you consider "bad ass"). And I'm just a drop in the bucket, as evidenced by the comments here.

Also, I was urged to leave a comment by my husband, who, among other things, rebuilds cars, does logging with horses, and spins yarn.

I think Ms. Aloi owes everyone an apology."

sheilag02 said...

Ms. Aloi appears to be a narrow and small person compared to our knitting friends. I KNEW IT!!! That just makes me SO much happier to be a part of this community!! I love to be proven correct. :)

Elizabeth McClung said...

First, the Killing is a Danish show about a woman who is about to move to Sweden, not a Swedish show. Second, Sooke Stackhouse is one of the most mocked women I know - and Tara, yikes on a hot mess there.

I think knitting and the other crafts are important. The number one blog of Canada is the Yarn Harlot because this is part of people's lives. The person seems to want strong women....who watch TV a lot. I think women who make and create ARE strong women.

christunte said...

Oh yes! The Killing is definitely Danish! And the detective wore the coolest sweater in the Danish show. After a few episodes, everybody was knitting one for themselves. It was actually made by a Faroese designer, selling it extremely expensive, but everyone made their own copy....