Dudes, the last few weeks have been brutal. I guess all there is to say is that I went to New Orleans, was home for a day and a half, left for Vancouver (which, I had to keep reminding myself, is in another country and therefore requires me to go through, oh say, customs, and which therefore meant I needed my passport), spent almost six days there during which I was nearly 100% constantly in meetings (barring a delightful two hours spent at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, which I highly recommend), was home for a day and a half, and then everyone came to stay for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to have my folks here and Kivrin home, and I had a ton of fun making an entirely new set of dishes (all taken from this cool NYT article), but on Saturday I fell over at noon and didn't get up off the couch until nearly 6:00, went to bed at about 9, and slept for 10 straight hours, and I'm still dragging. Today's the last day of classes, and then it's me and a metric ton of grading.
But that's not what I wanted to share with you all. The part I wanted to talk about is the fun of giving a handmade gift to a maker. At the conference, there were a couple of people who had spent this past year doing massive amounts of behind-the-scenes work to bring off an event in celebration of the UN's International Year of Indigenous Languages, and it seemed to me that it called for something more than a simple thank you note or email. Thus, handknits.
At a lovely breakfast with one of them, I gave her a shawl/scarf (I never quite know what to call one of those half-moon-type dealies), and was instantly reminded that she is also a maker. Without a word, she took time to admire the stitches (from both sides), to look at the colors and the way they worked together, to feel the fabric and its drape. She tried it on, and took it off and admired it again. She talked about how she would use a pin that she recently made (that's her area of making) to wear it and how good it would look. And then, just the other day, she sent me a picture of her wearing it. Here's the thing: there's no way to actually know whether (a polite) someone really likes what we make for them, but the way a maker receives a handmade gift is such a delight - they appreciate the craft that went into the making, and they understand that at least part of the gift, is the gift of time and energy and creativity. That's not to say that folks who aren't makers don't deeply appreciate handmade gifts - I regularly and with pleasure knit for folks who don't craft - it was just fun to see that other level of appreciation.
All right - time to tackle the inbox, and the ever-mounting pile of end-of-semester grading. Wish me luck!