Saturday, 1 October 2011

september reading (and a ramble)

United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement by Kurt Reighley - This is an interesting book that covers a number of aspects of current American life and culture that are harkening back to 'roots', things like home canning, straight razor shaving, bluegrass, knitting, taxidermy and speakeasies. Reighley is Seattle based so I enjoyed it that there was a lot in here that is local to me.

I enjoyed this book and it really got me thinking about 'old times' and the return to doing things in a deliberate, hands-on, 'old-fashioned' way. Back in 2oo8 when I attended the Stitches and Craft Show in Melbourne, I was actually a little disconcerted by some of the older women who looked at my recycled yarns and garments and, umm, scoffed (no, that's too harsh but a lighter shade thereof) that they used to do the same "way back when".

Yes, I save buttons and zippers off worn-out garments, in fact I save worn-out garments, with the hope that I will one day get around to using them to make something else. And yes, I do realise that I am not the first to be doing so, but I do feel that I am part of doing things that way again.
And whereas this sort of thrift in the past was probably a necessity (Tim suggests also a manifestation of Protestant values) today for me it is about an ethical choice for sustainability (and yes also for saving money but I just seem to spend that on more craft supplies!).

Further, recently the Modern Quilt Guild called for submissions of 'modern quilts' to be part of an online exhibition. I had hoped to submit something - maybe the turbulent river baby quilt or the Franco-Australian wagga - but I found myself a bit stuck on the prompt "what, in your opinion, makes it modern." What is modern about my quilting? Certainly not the colours that I use, not the shapes, not the techniques - just that I do it in a really old-fashioned way. Which seems to be new all over again.

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