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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.

 

 

Contributing Artists
Melangell
EM

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Spirituality of Fibre Art

As I prepare for Divine Liturgy this morning and my mind is drawn to all things spiritual I consider that this would be an appropriate article for a Sunday.

Any spinner, knitter, weaver or anyone participating in another fibre activity can tell you how spiritual the craft is. Like gardening, canoeing, or sitting quietly, petting any furbaby, you almost immediately slip into a meditative state. Working with fibre is rich in spirituality on so many levels. When I work on a project, using natural fibres I try to contemplate how it can become a representative of the animal or plant that offered it's fibre.

When working on an article that will be used for a more religious purpose, like an altar cloth, icon scarf, even a bookmark, I will pray, recite scripture and, or, sing/chant.

There is even a technique one can use when weaving called name drafting where you can assign letters to different harnesses and spell out words and even phrases by raising the appropriate shafts. If you have ever looked closely at an icon of the Annunciation you may have noticed in the hand of the Virgin Mary, she is holding a spindle loaded with thread for weaving the curtains in the temple where she stayed before she became the Theotokos.

The active rhythm of treadling of the wheel, beating of the loom, raising and sinking of the harnesses, or knitting of the stitch can can slow the breathing, influence the rhythm of the heartbeat, lower the blood pressure, rocking you into promoting good health physically as well as mental and spiritually.

What a wonderful gift we are given to be able to participate in this labour of love. And that is truly what it is , why else would we invest so much time and energy into something that is not economically sound. Because as we all know, and this has been put to me many times, that there is no way we fibre artist could compete with Wal-mart. It is indeed unforturante that people don't take into consideration that we are creating art, not just producing merchandise. And how we would be hard pressed to try to make a living at doing this.

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