Many people that I know want to embrace a slower, more conscious way of life. People have a strong urge to get away from the distraction-heavy, fast-paced activities of a high-tech world.
Of course, most people don’t want to get off the grid. We just all want a little bit more spaciousness in our lives. We want areas of life where we can connect to ourselves, others, and nature.
Craft is the perfect way to introduce slowness into your everyday life.
Craft in America: Pomo Basket Weaving
I recently started watching the show Craft in America on PBS. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this show before now. It’s already in its tenth season. As soon as I saw the first episode of Season Ten, I became a fan.
The episode’s theme is California crafters. One of the makers who is profiled is a woman from the Pomo Indian tribe who has taken up her culture’s traditional basketry. In her fifteen-minute segment she touches upon so many different ways that craft heals her.
Most poignantly, she shares how her region was devastated by the fires that have swept through the state over the past several years. She talks about how basketweaving helps with the healing process after such a terrible loss.
The Slow Art of Pomo Basket Weaving
What really stood out, though, was the way that she described the steps of making the baskets. I learned that she grows and harvests her own materials. It is a long process.
First, the plants need to grow from their seeds. Then she needs to harvest them, which means breaking each piece down into smaller and smaller pieces for use in the baskets. Furthermore, the materials have to dry. Therefore, what she harvests today she might not use until next year.
By the time she actually starts weaving the basket, more than half of the work is done.
What is The Slow Movement?
Most people have heard of the Slow Food Movement. In reaction to the problems inherent with fast food, people wanted to commit to slow food. Slow food means eating local, traditional, in-season foods. The more that you can grow with your own hands, the more connected you are to your meal.
Food isn’t the only area of life where you can embrace the concepts of the slow movement, though. You can take a slow living approach to almost every area of life. The primary goals are:
- Slow down and be mindful
- Know where your items come from
- Put your own handmade effort into each element of a process
- Think sustainable, organic, eco-friendly, low-processed or no-processed
What Slow Movement Means in Crafting
Crafting is the ideal way to start embracing a slower way of life. After all, the very nature of the act is a way of slowing down.
For example, you could go buy a sweater. You might not know where it came from or how it was made. If it’s a piece of fast fashion, you might throw it away after a few uses. On the other hand, you could make your own sweater. Simply the act of knitting, crocheting, weaving, or sewing it yourself slows the whole process down. You become more connected to the piece.
You can also take the slow movement to the next level in your crafts.
You do this by getting as involved as possible in each step of the process. In the aforementioned example, the basketweaver harvests her own plants. Another example would be a knitter who raises her own sheep, spins their wool into yarn, dyes the yarn herself with plant dyes from her own garden, and then finally knits with that yarn.
How to Slow Down Crafting
Although you may not do every part of the process yourself, you can slow it down and make conscious choices every step of the way.
- Grow and process as many of your own materials as possible
- When buying materials, source them locally with sustainability in mind
- Get to know the people who supply you with materials for your craft
- Take the time to learn the history of your craft
- Learn how to do one more step in the craft process. For example, dye your own fabric before sewing
Why Craft Slow
Slow living offers many benefits. People who have concerns about the environment or the effects of chemicals will enjoy that slow crafting allows more control over materials.
The biggest mental health benefit of slow crafting is the sense of connectedness it provides you. You can connect with your inner self, higher self, and true desires. The more you slow down and work with your hands, the quieter the noise in your head. The less you ruminate, and the less you allow for distractions, the easier it will be to know your own true self.
Slow crafting also helps with mindfulness practice. There are, of course, many mental health benefits from mindfulness. Craft is an easy entry to the practice for people who aren’t using it frequently in their lives.
Your thoughts welcome and wanted … share in the comments if you have ideas about slow crafting.