Why make things?

I’m currently serving as the President of the Weavers  & Spinners Society of Austin, which means I get to pontificate a little in a President’s Letter every other month. I thought I should share them here as well.

Why Make Things?
August 2014

Why weave or spin  when it’s so easy to go to the store and just buy cloth and yarn? What is it about creating that we all like so much?  I think it’s probably hard-wired into us as humans, a result of those pesky opposable thumbs and big brains that separate us out from other animals.  I asked my 17 year old son the same question, he’s a big ‘maker’.  His answer:  it feels productive without being stressful like the things I have to do (like homework or college applications!).  Think of the word ‘grasp’, it means both “to understand” and “to hold’. We have intelligence in our hands,  our ability to hold things and to think — our thumbs and our brains — are intimately connected.

For me, personally, the process is always the really interesting part. The exploration and the making of mistakes, the experimentation. I tell my weaving students “If you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying hard enough”.  It’s not your inborn skill that matters as much as your motivation to learn.

As we head into fall and hopefully cooler weather, I want to encourage everyone to try something new, make some mistakes, enjoy the journey, discover something about yourself or your craft,  and fire up those looms and wheels!

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