I had occasion recently to visit a museum which contained a small selection of items from the Arts and Crafts era of design. The sign introducing the exhibit section began, of course, with the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” But the phrase that has stuck with me comes later, in the description of the movement and the artists’ desire to have their creations reflect the “joy of work.”
As I was sitting this morning with a cup of coffee and my knitting I thought about how great it is to find joy in what I’m doing. I love working with my hands. Creating a beautiful sweater stitch by stitch. Or sitting at the loom and watching each throw of the shuttle add another layer of color and texture through my warp threads.
Ok, sure, it wasn’t quite so joyous when I had to rip out 3 rows of 135 stitches because I’d misunderstood the button band instructions. But I’m back on track, and I only lost a little bit of time. Time I’d spent doing something I love to do.
I’m a maker. A handworker. I think about my work as individual items, not production runs. Even when I put on a long warp to weave a dozen dish towels I have no intention that they’ll be identical. As I’m weaving one, I’ll be thinking about what color to use for the next.
And that mistake I ripped back to fix? I don’t just love the process of making, I love pointing to the finished item, or wearing it, and saying “I did that.” It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I always want to be pleased with what I’ve made.
Now, I’ve got a sweater to finish (so I can wear it!)