A crazy thought came to me this week.
Remember George W. Bush’s paintings? Once he left the White House, Dubya took up painting. According to Salon he “freely admits the paintings aren’t especially good”.
I find that admirable *. I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel the pressure to only show my best outcomes: in craft, in fashion, in my work life, in my marriage, in the way our home looks (whoops).
How liberating would it be to say “eff that” and put something before the world that isn’t necessarily impressive? To freely make mistakes, create things without striving for technical perfection, to really show your work, not just a polished product?
I have conflicting feelings about this. On the one hand, I can completely, completely relate to Jerome on the Woolful podcast** when he talks about the satisfaction of making something the hard way: thin yarns, tiny needles, tightly-spun multi-ply fibre, detailed patterns. It speaks to a minimalist ethos that has always resonated with me: do less, do better.
Then again. I first got involved in the knitting community around the time when Wenlan Chia’s book Twinkle’s Big City Knits was published. I worked in a yarn store back then, and while some people were openly disdainful of the new knitters who came in, Twinkle book in hand, seeking big yarn and bigger needles, I loved the new energy these people brought to our craft. Knit quick! Make more! Have fun!
This was also the time when top-down, seamless raglans were starting to trend. Easy and practical, yes, but not the most refined, structured knits you’ll wear. So what?
There’s a place for all of these, and I’m not just being accommodating. I want to celebrate people making things, even when those things aren’t better than the factory-made goods we’re used to. It’s just not what it’s about.
Go at your own pace. Make what you like. Show it proudly. Celebrate it in others.