handmade things have special powers

by kath_red on 01/02/2006

in Community + Creativity

If I need a motivational pick me up, when my artistic self is flagging, I head over to read wish jar journal and am never dissapointed. She gets straight to the soul of the matter, intensely honest and heartfelt.

In a recent post she wrote about what handmade means to her. I quote “The quilt…it lays folded on the couch behind me, my most valued possession. It is sewn with squares that were once my Nana’s dresses. My favourite a blue grid pattern with small sailboats floating over top, it was the dress she wore around the house (sewn by her of course). Some of the squares are torn now from daily use. Everytime I fold it up I think of her, and I wonder if she could have known this as she was sewing it. It is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, I feel like there are parts of her sewn into the fibres and they soothe me everytime I wrap it around my shoulders. There is a life to the objects made by hand, that a mand made object could not possibly reproduce.”

The hobby princess wrote a draft craft manifesto a while ago, her whole manifesto is worth reading but for today I am going to look at point no. 2 “The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can’t see.” This statement really resonates with me right now. Why do I spend money on fabric to make my husband a pair of groovy comfy pants, when I could get something from a cheap department store and spend the same money? of course you can get lots of different groovy fabric and adjust the pattern so you end up with exactly what you want, but what is the hidden meaning – where is the magic?

  • love goes into making the pants
  • it makes me really happy to see my loved ones wearing something I have made, I feel proud when we go out
  • I get great satisfaction out of making the items, seeing it come together, seeing my vision (or theirs) form itself into something physical
  • and when they love it and it looks good on them I am motivated
  • when they love to wear it, I feel loved.

keri smith - sweater

This illustration is from Keri’s sweater story.
“all of my clothes have magical qualities,
special powers sewn into the linings.
these clothes are even harder to come by.
Today is a two sweater day.
I pull on my
most powerful sweater of all, the off white one that was crocheted by my mom.”

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alicia February 1, 2006 at 7:57 am

Lovely, just perfect for this day, somehow. Thank you.


2 Nicole Valentine February 1, 2006 at 8:52 am

Oh how wonderful — thank you for bringing this together. Just what the internet needed as far as I’m concerned.


3 Gina L February 1, 2006 at 9:21 am

You have a truely inspiring spot here. I’m sure it will become many, many peoples favorite.


4 herhimnbryn February 1, 2006 at 9:34 am

I think handmade for family and friends is always imbued with love. Mind you when I am making stuff there is also a great deal of f,ing and blinding!
But all that effort just adds to the Magic.
Thankuou for a great post.
Whip Up Rules OK


5 Blair February 1, 2006 at 9:54 am

This explains so much to me, feelings I have about making handmade things. At times it feels like I’m going to so…so much trouble to make whatever it is I’m working on. This post explains is all so well, its so worth the trouble.


6 Miss Maria February 1, 2006 at 10:21 am

I am so excited about this site. I am already overwhelmed with inspiration (in a very good and needed way) and addicted to the sites you link to (including all the contributors’ blogs). Thanks!!


7 Sooz February 1, 2006 at 11:09 am

Oh yes – this is it exactly! And you know what’s really amazing – everyone knows it even if they don’t know that they know it. I see it when grown ups pick up the dolls I have made for my daughter and hug them just like they were six years old again.

They can feel the magic that has bit by bit been sucked from their lives by the flurescent lights of shopping malls and yukky plastic smell from newly manufactured goods shipped to our shores. They can feel it and want it back! Thanks so much Kath, you’ve made me feel like a warrior, armed only with a square of felt and a needle and thread.


8 moki February 1, 2006 at 1:28 pm

oh! I’m loving the site already! Very inspired!


9 Samantha February 1, 2006 at 3:20 pm

Just great, fantastic, wonderful, etc. etc. What a relief to read something that really is intelligent and from people who we admire and who inspire.


10 Mirre February 1, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Wow, this site is just one day old and I’m already behind reading :-)

This is great, I know I’ll come by everyday to see what you wonderful crafty ladies have whipped up! Thanks for the initiative!


11 shannon February 1, 2006 at 8:32 pm

this is just what I needed to read this morning. These others have put into words the feelings that i didn’t know how to express about the things I make for my loved ones and is encouraging my confidence as a beginner.


12 Aurora February 1, 2006 at 11:09 pm

True majick is “changing consciousness at will” (Starhawk). As your consciousness shifts into creative mode, all things change – you, the creator, as well as the recipient and indeed the world. It is good advice to channel good, love and peace into that what you create, be it a garment, a meal, or a child. That’s the way we heal our planet.

Bright Blessings! Aurora


13 Lizette February 1, 2006 at 11:25 pm

I read Wish Jar Journal and the Draft Craft Manifesto regularly to remind myself of this magic…In my case, my pieces are infused with the magic of children’s freedom and innocence, purity and beauty. I love my work/hobby. Thanks for this site!


14 Mery February 2, 2006 at 1:12 am

This post was perfect!!!! It came right at the time when I was questioning the practicality of all things hand made. Thanks for helping me put things in perspective. There are a million other things way more important than being practical. Thanks. This is just what I needed.


15 Ailsa Daly February 2, 2006 at 6:18 am

This post gave me goosebumps – really great site.


16 kath_red February 2, 2006 at 11:08 am

thank you everyone for your amazing support and creativity – i am really excited about this site and am hoping it will become something for everyone


17 Ivana February 3, 2006 at 2:16 am

I agree, it must be something magical. I spent a lot of time on knitting, quilting etc. and I felt that is is importante for me. but I was not able to express that in such nice words.


18 Barb February 4, 2006 at 1:37 am

Thank you for this post, Kath.


19 ellia February 8, 2006 at 3:58 am

wow! i agree completely… but as magical as it can be, it can be very frustrating at times… especially when the project flops… and all that love spent into it just makes ya cry… or when you pour your heart into it and it gets damaged before the person could see it… (tough to work with paper at times)… on the other hand, its wonderful to see people appreciate your efforts, rarely knowing (as one person said in the comment) all the drama you went thru- the moment where you almost gave up… and its worthwhile, it really is… its wonderful… this post is totally what i needed, thank you!! it truly was inspiring


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