This time of year is always the busiest for us – just as it is for everyone in agriculture – crofting, horticulture, smallholding, homesteading … There’s so much to do, and most of it outdoors, physical work – which, as the years go by, seems ever harder to keep up. And yet our load can be lightened miraculously (if temporarily) by just a few kind words of encouragement – especially from those with a similar lifestyle and outlook on life. Alas, help of that kind is more likely to come from the far side of the world than from other islanders, too many of whom – crofting heritage notwithstanding – leave us discouraged by their indifference.
We aim to post, to the Big Garden and Croft blog, at least twice a week : somehow, frequent posting seems easier than posting less often – and certainly it’s more fun. Perhaps that’s because, by more frequent posting, our blog keeps up a momentum, one post prompting ideas for those that follow, the only obstacle being the time available to develop those ideas and turn them into reasonably well-honed compositions of words and pictures. Leave it too long, and ideas lose their sparkle, story-lines get tangled … That’s when momentum works against us.
Sometimes, it needs something from somewhere else, from someone else, to help us let go the burden of words unwritten, the stories of yesterday still untold, – to start agan in the here-and-now, with a joy and ease that is spontaneous, rather than a weary fulfilment of a self-imposed duty.
So if anything has, in the past few days, helped lift our spirits a little, it’s been the arrival from upstate New York, USA of something we ordered on Etsy.
It’s a kitchen towel woven by Kerry Sanger of WovenTogetherCrafts. It’s made of pure cotton, mostly in its natural colour – unbleached, with patterned stripes in pale and navy blue. Every time it’ll be used, we’ll think of Kerry. Every time we use it, our entwined ideals of Beauty-in-Utility will be celebrated, strengthened – and renewed.
Both Kerry and her husband Don are weavers ; but more generally they are makers. Kerry’s blog – Love Those “Hands at Home” reflects so much of what is important to Denise and I about domestic life, but above all the value of making things ourselves, at our home, for our home – or for our family friends and neighbours. We’ve coined our own tongue-in-cheek terminology for that way of life: we call it Producerism.
Yes, that’s right! The opposite of Consumerism.
Together, Kerry and Don, Denise and I – and everyone for whom making stuff at home is normal – and preferred to buying factory-made stuff from a shop, we’re the Producerist Society.
Kerry > Whether I make it or you make it, or someone’s grandfather made it, whether it’s a cake, or a quilt, or a fiddle tune, if it’s made by “loving hands at home,” I’m for it!
Well said, Kerry!
This evening, browsing through a box of mementoes from the first time we lived in the English county of Shropshire (“so good we lived there twice”), I came across the front cover from a 1987 report I wrote on … well, the title – and the black type on gray – tell you everything you need to know. To be fair, it was a great deal more interesting than that. No, really, it was!
But still not interesting enough to keep a copy for nearly thirty years. Other than the front cover – as a mere memento.
Or perhaps not even that. I turned over the cover, and discovered the real reason for keeping it. This –
Let’s introduce you to Becky’s troupe of Dog Dancers –
Ten years old. No computers. No internet. No tuition. No special paper or brushes. Just the time-honoured essentials: Observation ; Perception ; Practice. And talent – which should never be hemmed in by its tools.
All original drawings (c) Rebecca Bridge 1989. Reproduced with Permission