FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
As defined by Merriam-Webster Craft:
1: skill in planning, making, or executing : dexterity
2a : an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter’s craft><the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>b plural : articles made by craftspeople <a store selling crafts> <a crafts fair>
3: skill in deceiving to gain an end <used craft and guile to close the deal>
4: the members of a trade or trade association
Craftsmanship is the word of this moment in time. I’d like to use the word Crafter as it is more generic word encompassing all, however it’s a bit like Courtier and Courtesan. While the base word is the same the meaning, and connotation are wildly different. I love the craftsmanship of words, of cloth, of plumbing, of thread, of garment construction, of friendship, relationships, and of marriage. I appreciate the craftsmanship of brick laying, architecture, metal work – wrought iron and metal smithing. I remember reading that St. Therese’s mom made Alencon Lace, it’s beauty and delicacy, and Craftsmanship . . . sigh. My dear friend Elizabeth brought a style of Italian lace-making into her own quilts. The memory of her beautiful quilts brings such joy to my heart. The memory of her sharing the lace and the technique I will always remember that. Always. For she will be someone who influenced my quilting greatly forever.
A few years ago I stumbled on the work of Jasper Fforde author of the Thursday Next Series. I learned that Jasper has another series of books, Nursery Crime, that I haven’t read yet. It’s on my bucket list and I can see either a trip to my library (DRB if you’re reading this don’t laugh too hard please) or a purchase for my kindle. I re-read the Lord of the Rings every now and again because the words inspire me. The language, the use of words carefully and thoughtfully play across the page, engaging my imagination in ways that still bring vivid memory to the surface. Likewise with Mr. Fforde I can see Thursday Next in the library. These are Craftsmen of words. Oh there are women authors too. Panties is a knot is not my goal.
As a free motion machine quilter I have worked toward honing a skill with three specific intentions in mind: 1) competing; 2) teaching and 3) understanding how things work to become better at my chosen Craft. I’m developing my skills, honing my Craft. Working towards meeting those long term goals of winning at Houston and a few other things. These are indeed my goals. I’m working towards them. I have work to do to meet those goals. It’s my Work. The work that the Great Craftsman has given me and honor that gift I must.We, I, Must do the work of growing, learning, responding. That includes being frustrated, feeling angry, anguished, desiring to be better, not getting better, needing to be better, getting better, needing to understand, searching for information, seeking, writing responding, answering questions. And that leads to. . .
Often with one talent there’s another. God will often “trust” us with another talent when we respond to the call and develop the skill of the one he’s given. I’m also a teacher. I can not help it. It’s like breathing. I must share this knowledge. I must help other, newer quilters along the path to better free motion machine quilting. The language I use is from learned experience. I’m sharing all of the mistakes that I’ve made. I share this so that you can see that I’ve made the mistakes. That I’ve been frustrated. I would love for you to NOT make the same mistakes. But the reality is you will make those mistakes as you work toward honing your Craft. You have to make mistakes. Mistakes, bad art, bad quilting, are all part of the learning process. It matters precious little to me if you are quilting for a hobby, or to grow your career. All I can do, all I want to do is Show you How I do this quilting so that you can do the quilting You want to do. If you never want to be a show quilter that’s fine with me, perhaps this is Not the gift that God is asking of you. Perhaps your gift of quilting is to give actual quilts to other people. Or learning enough to Quilt for other people.
I think of how God crafted this earth. Crafted people, the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, leaves, spiders, streams, dogs, plants. I think of how I am influenced by each one of these in my own quilts. I think of how God gave the gift of Craftsmanship to individuals who use their gifts to create beauty, functionality, and purpose. God is a Master Craftsman and I’m at my best, an Apprentice. I’d like to be a Master Apprentice and maybe some day I’ll get there.
In the meantime, I need to do the work I’m called to in quilt making. I can assure you at this very moment it’s not entirely what I want to be doing, however, I’m on the path and I’m moving in a direction.
I’m thinking there will be a part two. Actually, there will be a part two…because there is something more I need to say. There is more about Craftsmanship that is on my heart, it’ll come at the right moment. Quilt making is a Journey that will take me a lifetime to explore.