My hands are old. As I stick my hand in the hot water to wash the fragile wool fleece, my hands blur under the water, and for just a moment, I am young again. The illusion quickly fades when I pull my soap-covered hands from the water and dry them. Craft is aging them, but I’m glad. In a world that caters to the young, fresh, and instant, old hands earned through craft have value.
A friend commented that she doesn’t understand my love of washing, combing, and spinning fleece into beautiful yarns. “You can just go to the craft store and buy it,” she said.
She’s right, but she’s also wrong. As the fiber slips through my fingers and winds onto the bobbin, it forms a connection to the past. I create the same motions and feel the rhythm of the pedals like generations of women before me. Women who had to craft in order to clothe their families. Women who felt the mean pinch of winter on their skin when they walked out to the barn to feed their flock of sheep but knew the importance of keeping their animals alive – for food, for clothing, and for love.
So I’ll take these hands and know that while I don’t face hardships like those who crafted before me, I can honor them. I can maintain the link to the past and those artisans whose hands are old like mine.