Letters from Home

Kumihimo – In Which Spools and Braids Make Artists

Micki Presley's Kumihimo - Courtesy Shannon Hill Glass StudioI rely on friends to keep me in the know on craft-related things and the latest rave has come to me via my cool friend, Jessica — Kumihimo.

Of course, no craft craze is new, and this one is is via Japan and the samurai, so it isn’t exactly modern.

Being a writer, I have a tendency to start hand-crafts, and never finish them. I like the idea of being crafty, but the manifestation of my artwork tends to look just slightly less technical than my four-year-old’s work. I have no talent for any craft, it seems, but writing.

This is a scientifically-proven excuse, of course– I could be successful at just about anything I wanted to, if I worked long and hard enough.

The Art We Don’t Practice

Just ask Serena and Venus (according to “Bounce” by author Matthew Syed).  What artists might cite as their “sixth sense,” or talent for making beauty in their profession is really, Syed says, them “relying on their deep knowledge of perceptual cues” — their mind using the practice they have developed over time and many years working with colors, textures, and techniques.

In some ways, this is comforting. After all, I can look at the lump of yarn I call a “scarf” and say “oh well, it isn’t my fault. I don’t have the time to set aside to really learn.”

Yet in other ways, it also opens the door to a lazy-way-out mentality in general. If I have an excuse (No time to invest! Can’t be bothered!), will I ever take the time to pursue those meandering paths of beauty that open me up to new ideas, and new parts of my identity?

I feel this way about my family, about my art (experiential writing), and about the way I choose to experience the world. In evey endeavour, I begin in the space of imperfection– in a heap of uncertainty and tangled threads. It’s up to me to fight through that and make beauty from it.