Sticks, knives, sewing and our souls: Looking forward to 2016

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 04:41

This post is about sticks, knives and our souls.
But have no fear, a little sewing does creep in...
And so does my beautiful boy - who is making a rare appearance on As it Seams.

We've just enjoyed a calm and lovely Christmas, with time together as a family. And at last a few calm moments to write this post.

I wanted to share some thoughts, something I've been thinking about a lot. And it was about a month ago, as I sat down for two whole afternoons in an autumnal farmyard  next to my boy, that  those thoughts came together.

This is my boy, with his stick, and a sharp knife. It was a moment of complete simplicity. For hours he was absorbed  by the movement of the blade against the soft green wood.  I joined in, sitting next to him, attempting to carve a wooden spoon and a butter knife.

We were guided and supervised by this man, Dom, who exuded a calm confidence which he passed to this small group of children. I watched this little girl, aged about 10, using this axe with skill, boldness and a sense of achievement. It was a powerful thing that Dom was passing to his young pupils. 
I'm sure this is really important for our children, helping them to feel bold, empowered and forge real connections between their hands, their imagination and the materials, whether it's wood or fabric. Don't you find that if you give children confidence and freedom their creations are limitless?

As we sat together in the farmyard with the calm of our knives and wood, we talked and listened to each other. 
And I pondered. 'What is it about making stuff that is so good for us?'
Why do I want to make a wooden spoon when I could buy one for pennies in the local supermarket? 
But a supermaket spoon would have no real value? I wouldn't respect it, understand it, or remember an autumn afternoon in a farmyard.
It would be just another 'thing' taking up space in my cluttered kitchen, made by a machine in a far-away country, by people who are paid too little, using the earth's resources.

I whittled, and thought, and pondered. and made this little butterknife.

I think it's the same with sewing. When we 'create' we gain much more than the thing that we make. We gain space in our heads, skill in our hands, connection with the people who create alongside us.

And we gain connection with what the world, right next to us, has to offer. 

My boy spent hours whittling and creating. He made a sword and a butter knife to add to his  whittled arsenal. I'm not too keen on weapons in our house, but feel a bit differently about hand-made swords, bow and arrows.  

One day I'd like to be able to create something as beautiful as Dom's pile of handmade spoons. 

This is my kitchen spatula, it's  a bit rough, but I'm still rather fond of it.

Christmas has just seen us celebrate by bringing a load of new toys into our house. We had a lot of fun, My boy loves his new Lego, Missy her new dolls' house. But these are not things that we really 'value'.
In 2016, I'm going to hang on to the lessons of those afternoons whittling. That it's real connections and creativity that are the truly valuable

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  1. You are so right! The process of sewing gives me great pleasure and a feeling of acomplishment but most of all it gives me space in my head. It's as if the weels slow down and I stop worrying about the little stuff. I love it!
    For Christmas this year I made my 2 daughters a doll with dresses just like theirs. It was a project way out of my comfortzone since I'm just a beginner sewist. And it was kinda stressy. What if they don't like them. They are definitelly not as pretty as the storebought ones. But they absolutely adore them. And they were so proud of me. That is just the best feeling ever. And definitelly something to hold on to in 2016!

    1. Hi Lisan, Yes 'wheels slowing down' that's a perfect description. And I'd love to see your daughters' dolls and dresses! My mum made one for me, and more than 30 years later I still treasure it. Happy New Year!

  2. Love the pictures and also your words. So very true. Hope you will have a wonderful 2016

  3. Thank you for putting this into words so beautifully. This grasps exactly why I (and my kids) love to make things. The slower the process the better. There is just something meditative about creating something from scratch with your own hands, almost putting a bit of oneself in the little work of art you're making and truly connecting with the material. In a way this makes machine sewing almost too fast for me, although I do love a fast result ;)

  4. Always love your posts, Victoria! Such lovely (and right) words!
    And beautiful pictures too... Have a great 2016!

  5. Your words are so true. Sometimes I forget but making really is empowering and really does connect us. <3 When I was about ten I was a Scout and one of the best feelings was when I got my first pocket knife, we used to carve all sorts of things on wood when we were camping; I forgot how good it felt, thanks for reminding me. <3 you did a great job with the knife and your photos are beautiful. Wish you an amazing 2016!

  6. Beautifully said. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this as well, and I totally agree with you. Here's to a wonderful 2016!

  7. love pictures <3


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