As a textile artist, I have taken a lot of time to contemplate why I do what I do, and what’s important to me about being able to work with my hands and share my creations with other people.  This is my Manifesto – the key principles that inspire me, and lead me to finding meaning and fulfillment through my work.

 

Be Extra Ordinary

textile artist owen brush

(Photo courtesy of Images in Perspective)

Extra Ordinary is an idea that describes something that is so especially ordinary that it possesses a unique integrity and beauty to it. This is a beauty that can only come from a slow and purposeful way of relating to our material environment, Like hand crafted furniture passed down through generations, or a gardener who is able to eat the food that she has planted and cared for with her own hands. This is the kind of beauty that I aim to create and surround myself with. The beauty that comes from simple and loving hand work.

 

Craft is a Conversation

Grinding earth pigment into fabric

Much of my inspiration comes from my sensory experience of the world, whether it is the sounds of the world around me, the feel of the earth beneath me as I dance, or the intricate architecture of a forest. Even the slowly changing hues and shadows cast by the sun as it moves through the sky has been known to hold my attention for a long while. This is the reason I work slowly. I use basic hand working methods in every step of the process, because this slowness and directness of experience offers me the opportunity to connect to my materials and participate in an ongoing conversation between myself, my tools, the materials I use, and the world I live in. There is so much for us to learn by conversing with the things around us – all we need to do is listen.

 

Beauty Will Save the World

Beauty is all around us, if we open ourselves to it. Everything in the world is invested with energy – physical, emotional, and spiritual – whether it be made by our hands, or born from nature. All we need do is give ourselves permission to be present, to breath in, to touch, to see, to taste, to hear, to imagine, and to reflect the amazing and endless wonderment contained in everything and every one around us. In these moments of beautiful connection, everything is right, and truth is made clear.

 

Responsibility is Revolutionary

While our world is plagued by the exploitation of people and the natural world, and so many things are reduced to a commodity devoid of meaning and beauty, these systemic problems can only exist when responsibility doesn’t. Every player in a such a system can avoid responsibility by passing it to another. The consumer can point to the producer, the producer to the policy maker, and the policy maker back to the consumer. These cycles can begin to stop, once responsibility is held on to instead of passed away.

Hand craft is a stance of taking such responsibility. Through craft we claim ownership and autonomy in our lives. We deal with the world as an equal, we converse with our resources and materials, and we surround ourselves with objects of beauty and wonderment that are born of a reciprocal and loving relationship with the world.

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