Knitting and Love Letters
I began knitting when I was 10 and learnt at the hands of a peer as well as at a lunchtime club taught by an older woman. Because of this I view knitting as a feminine tool for connection and collaboration.
This term I have had to prioritise rest more than usual due to healing my leg and subsequently my relationship with my body. It is one of the first times in my life that I have had to allow rest without guilt. In this hyper productive society, resting feels like cheating.
Knitting however is a resistance to this toxic capitalist mindset as not only can you produce your own clothing but it forces you to spend your most valuable resource on it, your time.
I have been experimenting with embroidery on pieces of knitting. Not only does it feel so crafted and personal, but I also can feel the emotions I have in my head sorting themselves out and releasing.
In the video above I am embroidering this poem that I wrote onto the knitting.
This is a love letter to my body, however it can also be interpreted as being for a lover. I am trying to love myself like a lover would.
Here are some of my research and reference images for this embroidered love letter series. I look to the artist Iviva OIenick for her embroidered Post-its with loving messages on them as an example of the intimacy and emotion that can only be translated through the tactile medium of embroidery.
"To know compassion fully is to engage in a process of forgiveness and recognition that enables us to release all the baggage we carry that serves as a barrier to healing. Compassion opens the way for individuals to feel empathy for others without judgment. Judging others increases our alienation. When we judge we are less able to forgive. The
absence of forgiveness keeps us mired in shame. Often, our spirits have been broken again and again through rituals of disregard in which we were shamed by others or shamed ourselves. Shame breaks and weakens us, keeping us away from the wholeness healing offers. When we practice forgiveness, we let go of shame. Embedded in our shame is always a sense of being unworthy. It separates. Compassion and forgiveness reconnect us."
bell hooks - All About Love
Reading bell hooks's writings on love in todays modern society has confirmed that the work we do with Creaming Strawberries, that is creating a community of caring individuals who listen to each other, is the way to heal. As stated above, we cannot heal if we judge each other or shame each other.
Craft is a tool to encourage listening to each other, if in a sewing circle of sorts, and to ourselves. Perhaps in this way we can find 'self-love', but I think it begins when we see the love and community in each other.