Sunday Letter October 25th 2020
Our local museum has a new curator so I wanted to see what was happening at the museum. When I got there I discovered there was a basket making going on. The curator invited me to join in. I said, "No thanks, I already did that a long time ago."
So many things are like that, we tried it once so we feel like we'e done it. As I looked around the museum at the collections all beautifully displayed I ended up in the room with Clara Gough, the basket maker. When I saw her beautiful baskets, and her sister Martha and brother in-law Barry waiting to teach people, I just had to stop. Initially I was only going to stop for a few minutes for a demo, but soon she had the basket materials made from split maple in my hands.
As other participants came, Martha, Clara's sister came and sat with me and we visited as she helped me make my basket. I learned that their mother was a basket maker and that there were 200 years of basket making in their family history.
Honestly I struggled with basket making. I was a beginner. But I learned some important things there that had nothing to do with baskets.
I learned the importance of going off course in your day, of letting things happen, of being open to the unexpected. I arrived there for ten minutes on my way to the flower shop and stayed for nearly three hours. I left with a tiny basket and a full heart.
I felt what it was to be a beginner, to struggle, to have your mind wander away from the teacher, to worry too much about the finished thing and loose sight of the process. It helped me understand how people must be feeling when they learn to hook rugs.
I learned about the important cultural traditions of basket making in families in Nova Scotia. I had no idea about this. As I sat with Martha she told me about her mother, her daughters, her grandson and their love for baskets. I just had the time to listen to someone else's story and it was beautiful.
I learned again that there is something so good about serendipity. Because this is a lesson I forget again and again. Mostly I work day after day in my studio. Happy and Content as I am there, it is important to make room to listen and to learn about other things and other processes. It is important to step away from your routines and find joy in other places.
I learned that a long time ago was a long time ago. That in a lifetime it is ok to learn things again and again. Even if you have played with them before, play with them again, there are still new things to learn.
It is not about the thing, it is always about the making of the thing. It is always about the time spent. As I watch all the people in our tiny landscapes course post their rugs I know that their rugs, as lovely as they are, are a record of their time spent.
As Ceilidh so simply and profoundly said on our Thursday live this week, "I'm really glad I used my time to make something I like looking at. "
I too am glad I use my time to create beauty and I know that though there is beauty in the rugs I make; there is also beauty in the time spent making them.
I hope that your week brings you some beautiful surprises. Life is like that when we let it be like that.
Thank you for reading.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick