Monday, March 7, 2011

In praise of generous craft women

Tomorrow is the Centenary of the International Women's Day, whose rallying cry was always "bread and roses" -women calling for beauty as well as sustenance for themselves and their families (see the words of the song below)

I have spent today very happily sewing some pillowcases to go with the "East Meets West" quilt which was my first ever queen size quilt, and in the process I have been thinking about how much I have always loved working with my hands in the way women have always done. From high school onwards, every moment away from my studies was a moment to engage my hands in activities-to rest the mind and enjoy the peaceful absorption I feel in working this way.

My love of craft has been encouraged by women who have shared their gifts with me, as women do, freely and with great grace.

I remember my Grade Three teacher who taught me to knit, and my mother whose praise of my early efforts kept me at it even when it was difficult.

I remember my sister showing me how to embroider.

The "Home Economics" teacher who showed me how to sew and make clothes.

I remember the women behind counters in shops, who helped me find the resources and gave me the tips to try new things -beading, macrame, a thousand things. Women who wrote books I borrowed from the library, inspiring me to try harder.

Trish of Quilting Matters, who taught me my very best love -quilting.

Then there are all those generous bloggers (see my list to the right) who take the time to create tutorials to show other women how to do things -how to insert a zip, how to make easy pinwheel triangles, how to use the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine.

Thank you, all for giving me this wonderful gift -the ability and confidence to make things for my home and in doing so to express my own creativity.

Song lyrics

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I love your quilt in praise of women and it is especially poignant at this time with the Japanese prints and all the suffering in Japan