Why am I a crafty mama?
The following poem keeps springing to mind as I consider the question.
Worthwhile Work – author unknown
Today, I left some dirty dishes, the beds I made at 3pm
The nappies soaked a little longer, the odour grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilt the day before, are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall, will likely still be there next fall.
The dirty streaks on those windowpanes will still be there next time it rains.
“Shame on you, old Lazy Bones” you say “And just what have you done today?”
I nursed a baby till he slept. I held a toddler while he wept.
I played a game of hide-and-seek. I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon; sang a song. Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through? Not much that shows, I guess it’s true.
Unless you think that what I’ve done, might be important to two little people,
with bright blue eyes and soft strawberry and blonde hair.
If that is true, I’ve done my share.
I really like the sentiments of this poem – and I try to remember them at the end of a day that feels like it hasn’t been as productive as perhaps it should have. I can work so hard all day and still look around at the end of the day and feel like I haven’t achieved much at all.
The character Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) from Pretty Woman also comes to mind. Towards the end of the movie he decides to build ships – he has an urge to produce, to see something tangible & material made from his efforts. And I suppose this is where craft fits into my life – at the end of the day it is nice to actually ‘produce’ something – to have something tangible that I can hold and say to myself “I made this”.
Then there are the endless meditative benefits ... the humming of the sewing machine, the crunch of scissors cutting fabric, the motion of weaving a needle through fabrics. My mind is transported to a blissful place away from the daily grind. I sit there and as the actions of my work become less conscious my mind takes me away to memories of other times, places and people, thoughts on life and its quirky nature. And sometimes my mind is filled with nothing, and that is good too.
Sometimes in these meditative moments my mind goes back to other generations of women. Through craft – sewing in particular – I find myself connected to women who have long since passed, most notably my grandmother. Her creations have outlived her and through them she is present with me every day. I look at my children’s dolls’ clothes and I see her sitting in her arm chair knitting or cutting material using patterns made from old newspaper.
And it is not just the connection with previous generations I value, I also enjoy being part of a community, the connection I feel with other crafters, and the pleasure in seeing their creations.
Finally, in this world of globalisation and mass produced products, it is wonderful to see something I made myself, something that is a one-of-a-kind. Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colours comes to mind, the child’s growing realisation that her patchwork coat far from being worthless because it does not match the standards of the general coat, it is in fact valuable for its uniqueness and the love her Mama sewed in every stitch.
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of