March 5, 2009

Zen and the art of Crochet

I was invited to a personal coaching session by a friend last night, which was actually quite enjoyable. I again realised that one of the areas I want to work in my life is spirituality (NOT religion). A common tool used by people in this field are personal development cards. We had to pick three cards and contemplate their relationship.

The first card I picked up had a beautiful photograph of 2 balls of yarn (they looked to be hand-dyed) and a knitting project in progress with the words "doing". Out of all the cards, I picked the one with a picture of knitting on it! (though I am not a knitter, but a crocheter). I found this to be a little bit more than just a coincidence, and it got me thinking about crafting in general as a spiritual activity.

So I've been googling knitting and spirituality (crocheting and spirituality doesn't seem to be as mainstream). Though many of the results relate directly to Christianity (which is fine, just not for me), I found a couple that aren't, such as Zen and the Art of Knitting: Exploring the links between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity by Bernadette Murphy. This was a great find on google books, where you can read most of the text for free! (though I would encourage actually purchasing the book to support the author, after all we all know how nice it is to HOLD an actual book in one's hands!)

Above: my Pearls of Wisdom Handspun Merino Fingerless Gloves

To me, crocheting and spinning as well as many of the arts are a type of meditation- you sit down and focus on one thing for an extended period of time. You allow other thoughts racing around your mind to leave, and get lost in your work. As Murphy says in her book, "Knitting is a process craft." Sometimes, as many of us know, we get lost in this process, and when we are truly experiencing the moment, often something beautiful is created. Sometimes it does not always work out so well- we are forced to yank out stitches and start over. But this is all part of the journey of art, and we can look at it as a chance to learn, at the very least.

When I think about wanting to include a greater amount of spirituality in my life, I realise I do already have quite a bit through my artistic endeavors. What is missing is the sharing with others- which is why I'd love to teach some of the skills I have learned, and also learn from others.

One of my first handspun, hand-dyed skeins of yarn-the beginning of a journey!

1 comment:

Beth - IndieNorth said...

Fascinating! I think many of the "Womanly Arts"(lol) are a form of active experience is with quilting, and when I look at a piece I've made, I can remember what was happening during that point in my life, who I was thinking about, even the music I was listening to.

Spiritual power was taken from women for so long, I think of these crafts as a historical way for women to meditate, to reflect and to connect to a higher power in a subtle, serect way.