(Devon, my daughter, and I in the early years!)
Why should we teach kids knitting or machine sewing or embroidery? It's not because it will get them into a better college, or bring them untold wealth. It's probably not because you thought "Boy I really wish my kids could crochet!".
So what is it that brings thousands of kids to us every year? I'm sure it represents something different for each of you. For me, it has always represented LOVE. When I see small kids embroidering a furry creature, I conjure up warm fuzzy thoughts...a fire, a mother crafting with her kids, small hands, big creativity. However for you, it could represent what you'd like to do for yourself if you had time. Or maybe it reminds you of your own childhood making an A-line skirt in home ec. Maybe your mother is knitter and you are looking for a way for your daughter to connect with your mother in a way that would make your mom proud. Whatever the reason, there is probably no arguing that your reason comes from someplace in your heart.
As you may know by now, our beloved Miss Eva has recently left us full time to pursue a career in public health. As I say, no one ever really leaves The Handwork Studio-so we refuse to say goodbye (luckily she remains as our part-time bookkeeper). However I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask Eva what needle arts means to her. She came to us as a child at 15 and she leaves us as an accomplished woman. I was curious how handwork played a role in her life. Please read our interview below and comment on what handwork means to you. Please feel free to drop her an email at Eva@thehandworkstudio.com. She'll appreciate what it represents!
(Miss Eva with Miss Julia & Miss Alisha at the Dickins Festival December 2012)
What does needle arts represent to you? Needle arts represents something familiar and cozy to me. I grew up, both in my home and around the Handwork Studio ladies, with fibers and textiles all around me. Especially in the context of the studio, it represents warmth, friendship, and so many laughs - and this is something I get to experience every day, both with my colleagues as well as with your children.
What have you learned about the importance of teaching kids needle arts?
Being with the studio for so long, watching kids grow and mature, I have recognized the confidence needle arts gives to children. Finishing their first row of knitting by themselves, or finally whip-stitching their stuffed animal closed that it has taken the entire session to sew - it's like finally understanding that tough math forumla in school - and feeling utterly elated when you finally get it. It's an amazing process to be a part of and has always made me feel so happy that I am able to contribute to that process.
What surprised you most about working with kids?
Working with kids has reminded me how completely capable and incredibly creative they can be. Parents often ask us, will my five-year-old really learn how to knit? Will they really be working with sharp needles and scissors? It still amazes me how kids, especially young ones, come to an understanding of how to properly work with these very grown up tools we use. They understand that this is real deal, and they seem to take on a new sense of responsibility when they realize we are trusting them with these tools.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the people, hands down. Every individual I work with here is so special to me and I consider each one such a wonderful friend, and while I know this won't be the end of my friendships, I will miss seeing them and laughing with them every day (and believe me, we laugh every day). I will miss being able to craft with your children, sharing in their delight when they create something that is their own, and I will miss watching them grow. Being part of The Handwork Studio family has truly been a pleasure and I know I will never find a place as special as this, but I am confident it will always be a place that I can call home.