Crapsmanship or Joie de Craft

Another delayed post (only one day past the September deadline – arghhh!) But there has been quite a lot of weavage despite the paucity of posts.  First I wanted to show my ol’ gal AVL being carted away to be given new life with Bruce Bannerman and Jane Gilchrist of Purrington Looms  Bruce and Jane had quite an odyssey traveling up north to pick up the AVL, meet the son of Rolo Purrington (the founder of Purrington Looms and co-founder of the Hill Master Weaver Program) who is a a retired NASA engineer, deliver a BEAUTIFUL,12-shaft, Purrington table loom to L.I. and take in the weaving sights of New England.  Jane and Bruce are wonderful people who are very busy keeping the weaving tradition alive in myriad ways.  I feel blessed that my AVL is in their hands.  It took an engineer to figure out how to fit the 60″ AVL, two spool stands and the 12-shaft Purrington into the back of the mini-van! He did it.IMG_3150

And look what I got in the mail as the best hostess gift ever (Bruce and Jane have a laser engraver!):IMG_3209I have also been designing projects with Leslie Ann Bestor (weaving manager and stellar knitter/weaver/pal at WEBS) which highlight some of their weaving yarns.  Below is a sunny baby blanket using their new 6/2 cotton. SO soft!IMG_0615 IMG_0614I was also given the treat/opportunity to do a little sewing with fabric from Becky Ashenden’s (owner of Vavstuga Weaving School) colossal stash.  Becky has been weaving and teaching for over 30 years. Many of those were production years, and Becky weaves at lightning speed, so her fabric stash is incredible.  Anyway, below are a few little projects we are experimenting with.IMG_0743 bagsIMG_3193 bootsIMG_0773 insulated lunch bags and more.

The more brings me to my new favorite coinage: “Crapsmanship”!  My beloved husband often offers me turns of phrase to help me keep perspective, a needed sense of humor and perhaps deflate any ballooning ego he detects.  He supplied me with “Black-Hawk-Down Parenting” when I was fretting about the possibility that we were “helicopter parents”. And when I was noodling around sewing small needle cases with scraps of fabric in a completely seat-of-the-pants way he came up with “crapsmanship”.IMG_3204 IMG_3206So, my current “mull” is the line between “crapsmanship” and “joie de craft” because the sewing is clearly abysmal here, but I was really enjoying the process of thinking up little details and add-ons while I was making the things – definite WIPS.  I love excellent craftsmanhip, but I think I love “joie de craft” more, and of course I realize that the ideal is to have both, but I also think that in this age of very perfected and tight industrial/mechanized make-age, we need to find a spot for imperfection.  Believe me, I am not defending the little spud featured above, but it is hard to find the place in the world where little pockets of “joie de craft” are loved for their intention. It seems that excellent craftsmanship has a place and a broad category of what I think of as “Michaels’ Made” (a somewhat snotty characterization of craft-kit creations) has a place, but the in-between creations that flow from the pure desire to make something that is spontaneous and joyful aren’t as celebrated as perhaps they should be. Think of the few exceptions like Gee’s Bend quilts
Mexican Milagros
or the art of Howard Finster
Where do you think the line is between shoddy and sincere? Is it simply a matter of personal taste/aesthetics, or is there some objective standard?  When I was in Denver, David Johnson, the Pres. of the Rocky Mt. Weavers’ Guild said something that has stayed with me.   He said that there has to be a balance between head, heart and hand for the magic to happen.  So, what’s your recipe?  More head, more heart, equal parts? I would love to hear what you think . . .


Here is a warp I had for the class I taught at NEWS.  It is Merino wool in a color called “Almond” but my husband christened “ace bandage”. Wise guy!IMG_3230 IMG_3237

And more pics of weaving heaven at Becky’s farm studio. This is from her “Linens-Seed to Cloth” class.  the warps and finished pieces are incredibly beautiful.IMG_3242

Draw LoomIMG_3249

Pebble weave warp (draft from Lynn Tedder’s article in Weavers mag.) for my Nordic Deflections class.IMG_2047

Class participants (and current and former apprentices) taking their (amazing!) yardage off the looms.IMG_1995

IMG_1974IMG_1943 IMG_1930 IMG_3473And I am about to get in the car to head to Columbus for a Deflected Double Weave Workshop.  Hopefully, I’ll post some wonderful pics to share when I get back . . .