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Crafting Feelings: What Do You Leave Unspoken About What You Make?

Crafting Feelings: What Do You Leave Unspoken About What You Make?

   I know the word feelings can automatically skyrocket to discomfort but there is very little out there about about what we feel when we make and give what we make to someone or put it out in the world for sale. I am going to speak more specifically toward sewing but the same applies for a baker or furniture maker. We live in a society of sales and discounts, impulse purchases and limited expectations on the long term value of most things we buy.

    The expectation we have as a maker is on a totally different level of consumption. We consume through the mental limbo of research and decisions based on rational and irrational goals. Meanwhile our material choices, our processes and the time we steal from all our other responsibilities to bring the idea to fruition is the unspoken often less appreciated aspect of making. All this is not to say that there are not people close to us that not only appreciate but encourage our passions and interests. The knowledge and appreciation we have as makers of what it takes to make something is perhaps something we should try to share more so that we can align the value of an object in a more fair and balanced way with the maker.

   How many times you had to take that seam ripper to the a seam and start over or you realized that the quilt blocks were misaligned or the tension on your sewing machine kept causing huge issues, are the back room details most people are not tuned to when they see a finished product.  What social media has given makers are pockets of community or groups where others share their fumbles, questions or successes and that is not only encouraging but is also evidence of the need for that space to express details we often feel others will not understand. Every once in awhile I see someone making a post about grappling with the pain and discomfort of someone not appreciating a gift or making an unkind comment about something someone made. The post is usually asking for a soundboard and seeking advice on how to overcome the hurt feelings. The advice often spans from toughen up and get a thicker skin or that it is probably out of ignorance or insensitivity that the feelings were hurt. Everyone deals with things differently but it has made me ask if there is something missing in what we know about making as a society? 

    We see interviews with the very successful and get information typically about what inspired the work and how the project came together but what we do not hear about are the important moments of failure and challenges that lead to a success. There are many aspects to sewing that you learn by doing and messing up and mix and repeat. For example learning about the grain of the fabric and working on a bias becomes a muscle memory that we learn and absorb. Is it impossible to share these details?  Does awareness about the foundation of experience and learning acquired to make it mean greater value to the object? 

    This raises more philosophical questions about how we value objects and the people who make objects. We do not make what we enjoy making in a vacuum. My question to you dear reader is what would be important for others to know about what you make? How do you communicate that to others? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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