Slow Creativity

It used to be, things made slowly, by hand were for the poor. If you couldn’t afford new clothes, you made them. Hand knitted jumpers were made by family members over time, where shop bought winter wear was for people who could afford to travel to skiing locations.

Well, that was my experience anyway.

Shops couldn’t/wouldn’t stock the handmade style because it took too long to create. If you had money, you could afford to save time and buy what had been made commercially.

Machinery came in that cut time and costs to products and the quicker things were made, the cheaper they became.

But with modern machinery came a loss of traditional craftsmanship.

The slow movement brings back the loss of hand made skill.

The idea that something is made slowly, consciously. No modern machinery, no technology that takes the focus away from the task of creating.

At Uni we were given a small piece of cloth. We were told to bring simple tools, tweezers, scissors and spent several hours sat on our own, no conversation, quiet music playing, dimmed lighting.

Our only goal, to take apart the cloth and put it back together.

Experiencing the cloth fully, contemplating the craftsmanship in making.

I started by silently taking threads from the edge, just wanting to take enough to make the cloth a neat square. Nothing was to be wasted, every scrap had to be saved.

When I had enough threads I had the idea of crocheting them into a square. I tied the ends together then made a granny square.

Using more threads I cut a hole in the fabric and sewed the granny square back into the cloth.

Could I do this enough that it no longer was a woven cloth, but a crochet blanket?

The idea then formed that I would only do certain squares. The cloth would remain, but with an added value.

After the cloth was made we were told to treasure it, make a box or similar to put it in, so I made a box.

I bought a cardboard book style box from Hobbycraft and painted the inside with gold acrylic.

The outside of the box was painted with metallic paints

The cat added value by walking over the paint before it dried (Note to self – when I’m famous, rent a studio with a separate area for the cat)

Finally I folded the cloth and secured it with brown ribbon.

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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