It started with an online ad. A quality sewing machine being sold for a ridiculously low price, the unfortunate casualty of our 21st century sensibilities. My wife, Debbie, spotted the ad, made a few inquiries, and purchased it for one of our daughters.
A little backstory. Debbie is an excellent seamstress, and she was mentored by her mother, Sandy, for whom sewing is one of her superpowers. So naturally my daughters were exposed to the art of sewing at an early age, though they didn’t really spend much time behind a sewing machine. One of our daughters casually began to talk about learning again, not only because she thought it would be a fun and creative thing to do, but also because she has been thinking a lot about the injustices and implications of our global economy. So Debbie bought one for her. It was a few weeks later that patterns were purchased, a weekend was selected, and a sewing bee was born.
Sew it goes. For the past few weeks, my home has been transformed into the center of the sewing universe. Patterns are cut on the kitchen counter. The living room is strewn with yards of fabric around an ironing board. The dining table houses two sewing machines which seemingly inhale and exhale in mechanical purrs. And Daughters, Mom, and Grandma—three generations of our family—playfully move between each station, occasionally discussing a seam, a hem, a collar, a pocket, a story.
Honestly, I love watching them work, for reasons both rational and unexplainable. There’s a sense that something good and worthwhile is being passed from generation to generation. An anachronistic skillset perhaps, but more so a deepening appreciation for family, for artisanship, for the wisdom that comes with age. There is a shalom in these moments—a simple shared satisfaction that comes from slowing the soul, and a feeling that all is right in the world. And then there are those moments—when I see Grandma leaning into her Granddaughter, whispering quiet instructions over the whir of the sewing machine, and I think to myself: a memory is being created right now. And I don’t want to miss it.
Sewing, like all expressions which require craftsmanship, is an art. And art evokes emotion. Here are a few takeaways.
• As artists of faith, we need to find places to give ourselves away, especially to the younger generations. Sharing our art can be a means upon which we can impart the deeper Truths of being.
• For many of us, our art is our happy place. As it should be. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to share that place with others. All artists of faith should have places where one can collectively gather with others to share one’s artmaking experience—whether it is a writer’s group, a painting collective, a band, an art studio, etc.
• It is a good thing to embrace and incorporate actions into our lives that are anti-technology. We need to put down the tech and simply use our hands. Plant a garden, dip a paintbrush, cook a gourmet meal, sculpt some clay. Interact with creation in creative ways. It will fill your soul.
• In this current age of Covid, it’s easy to slip into ruts. Boredom, apathy, dissatisfaction, annoyance—these are the states of being that we can find ourselves languishing in, states of being that will drain the life out of an artist and sap us of our passions. I continue to encourage you to see this pandemic environment as an opportunity to explore in greater ways your talents and skills and creativity.
100 Things Creatives Can Do With Their Time
81 Things You Can Do To Be A More Artist Friendly Church
Mutual Passion: The Artist In Community
[Banner photo by J Williams on Unsplash.]
4 thoughts on “Sew It Goes”
I love this! The passing on of the skill (and FUN) of sewing from one generation to another! How beautiful that you were able to see this happening right in your own living room. Each moment is a new opportunity to create.
I haven’t watercolored in a while. I seem to shift from one form to another- writing, playing the guitar, baking or watercolor. I can’t seem to do them all consistently. I get into ‘phases.’ But lately, it’s just been researching and my head has been filled with knowledge. It’s time to let something out a little bit and unwind. Thank you for the motivation. Do you find that you alternate between things too or do you just simply focus on only one art form? (writing?)
Thanks for the encouraging response Sejana. I do have a tendency to focus on one thing and then another. But I do believe that great things have the opportunity to happen when you can focus on a particular thing for an extended period — be it a music album or a book manuscript or an invention or trying to write a screenplay. Having a firm vision for the end result encourages me to finish!
It is so true that art vs tech will fill our soul. The last few months, I’ve been spending hours with my grandchildren ages 4 and 2. Because my daughter is anti screen for the kids, we have spent our days painting, sculpting with playdo, building with Legos, coloring, reading, and pretending(the kids favorite). It really has filled my soul, especially the coloring and painting. I have not done these things for years!
Adri, I love it! And I relate to it too. Being with grandkids is physically draining but emotionally and spiritually filling. Being with children, coloring and painting and pretending, helps us tap into some deep places within us. Regardless of age, we are indeed children of our Heavenly Father.