Creating a Larger Picture
Whether it is a grandparent, a teacher, a parent, or a friend, the people that make up The Handwork Studio all have a person or a time that can be linked to that first moment they were inspired to pick up a craft. Where one finds inspiration is often a personal story, and this series will work to uncover some of those amazing stories. I will be having conversations with members of The Handwork Studio’s team about the places where they gain their inspiration from and then sharing those stories with you! With each story, we will weave together a picture of the team here at The Handwork Studio by hearing from some familiar faces and some new ones.
To start off this series, I thought I would introduce myself, and share some of my own connection to needle work. My name is Mattie, and I am a blogging and Social Media intern for the Handwork Studio. I am a senior attending the University of Maryland, where I study English Literature and Professional Writing. When I am not studying in College Park, or creating content for The Handwork Studio, I love to flip through fashion magazines, watch excessive amounts of HGTV, and count down the days until my next adventure.
Stitching Together Generations
Crafting is a special kind of art because it is not necessarily something that you go to school for or learn about in some art history book. For me, it has been something passed down from the generations of women who came before me, and it is exciting to think how I can pass it off to loved ones in the future. The women in my life have always been handy with a needle and thread, and anytime they mention something that they have created with their own two hands, you can see the undeniable joy and love that seeps through every seem.
Growing up, my mother used to make all of my siblings and my Halloween costumes. It seems impossible to me that she hand made all of these while having four young kids and still working, but I think for my mom, it was only natural to create and sew together things for the people she loved. She said that it would take her weeks to make all four of the costumes for my siblings and me. I cannot imagine thinking about Halloween all the way back in August! One of her favorite costumes to make was one where I was a flower bouquet. She said, “I made you a bonnet with all of these silk flowers that I had to individually hand sew onto the fabric. I loved the way it turned out, and you looked so cute with your tuffs of blonde hair and dimples.” Taking the time to make a butterfly or batman costume was done out of love, and that has been the lens through which I have viewed the art that goes behind needle work.
My mom was not just handy with a sewing machine, but also seemed to effortlessly succeed with every craft or art she set her mind to. The scrapbooks that line packed book shelves, the hand painted furniture adorned with ornate floral designs, and the carefully planted flower pots on our porch have filled my family home with the love and care my mom has showed with everything she does.
Seeing these symbols for family around my house inspired me to be like my mother in these ways and ask her at every moment to teach me whatever she was working on. After learning how to knit and sew from her mother, it seemed completely normal when I asked her if she could teach me how to knit when I was about 12 years old. Maybe this itch to create is something I inherited from my mother and grandmother, but I think it is also a product of being around such inspirational and hard-working women.
My mom always tells me about the times that I would imitate my grandmother as she would knit. I think this kind of imitation has infected me with the passion to create, and the passion to create for those that I love. I am working to be as good as my mother and grandmother, but for now I do not mind sitting on the sideline and watching them weave together what they love most in the world
Stories like mine are shared among so many people and across so many generations. If my story reminded you of someone in your life who inspired you to pick up a craft or art, share your story down in the comments below. We would love to hear your story and see how we can grow this community of thoughtful teachers and learners!