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The Comfort of Fiber

Here in the US it's a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives on 11 September 2001. I happened to be a sophomore in college that day, and still remember where I was and what I was doing. I think most people old enough to have memories, remember those odd things.

Lake Ontario from Fort Niagara, 2014
Today, we have mobile phones with cameras able to take still shots and videos. We have the ability to instantly send messages around the world and even into outer space. The world I was born into in the early 1980s, and the world I currently live in are vastly different worlds, almost to the point in which I sometimes wonder if I could ever be stuck back in time. It would feel similar, but so far removed from what I knew to be confusing.

One thing which remains is textiles. The ancient crafts of weaving and spinning, along with newer crafts such as knitting and quilting, have remained constant throughout humanity's lifespan. To me it's been an interesting observation how the more technologically advanced we become, the more important handicrafts are.

I first noticed this when talking with people about the various rises of handicrafts, as well as doing my own research. During the late Victorian Age, there was the Arts and Crafts movement, originally begun to counter the mass production of the Industrial Revolution. The desire for quality, handcrafted items was evident even a hundred and twenty years ago and hasn't left.

During the Twenties through the Forties, people wanted to make-do, and we have old magazines proving that desire. It was during this time period that my grandma learned to weave. Fast forward to the Seventies back-to-the-land movements and we begin to see the beginning of our modern craft businesses.

With the advent of the Internet, micro craft businesses and artisans can actually turn a small profit by increasing their customer base. Also, thanks to the Internet, groups focusing on a variety of topics have sprung up, connecting people across the globe.

Yet, with all of technological advances, we still turn back to those things which take time and energy to create not because we have to produce items for our families, but because we want to produce those items. As we work with our hands, we can take pride in what we've accomplished. I know for me, after a long hard day, I tend to weave. It's something I can do without having to think about the activity. I don't have to consider plot holes, timelines or character flaws, I can simply sit and weave.

When we hurt, we want something comforting. In my area, a couple churches have ministries focused on fiber - one church has a prayer shawl ministry while another makes quilts. In both cases, the items are given to those who need them whether after the loss of a loved one, or the advent of cancer treatment.

As we go through our day, consider the ways we use fiber to provide comfort. Is it the process which heals or the item received?


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