12 July, 2011

A deeper understanding of hand crafts and our modern culture

I found this clip quite a while ago and I come back to see it again and again, so often. 
I hope those of you who may be interested, have 41/2 mins to watch this richly fulfilling, insightful and thought provoking video (the transcript is also below).

Renate is so calm and assured. It is like meditation watching all of the hand & fibre work examples, and Listening to her soothing voice and magical accent. 
Hearing her comprehension of the world and how today's society could benefit from methods used for generations before us.

Renate articulates precisely, my own feelings.






 "Today, more than ever, the crafts have the mission to reconnect the human being to the Earth and her substances,

bring healing to the senses and soul, 
and foster the creative capacities of the human being"   

Renate Hiller of the Fiber Craft Studio, New York State

Transcript of Renate Hiller's words, from the film:
"I’m spinning wool with a stone spindle. This tool has been used probably for more than 30,000 years. And when we twist fibers into yarn we are actually creating a spiral. And the spiral is a cosmic gesture of creation. When we look at our galaxy from outer space it is a spiral. And we find spirals in many, many places – in the plant world, in, in - on the back of our head we have a spiral. Uh so, this is an activity that brings us closer to the cosmos, you could say. But at the same time we create something that is useful and beautiful because with the yarn that we have spun we can create sweaters, hats and mittens and scarves and so on.

To have the skill of knitting, to have the skill of crocheting, of felting, makes it possible for us not only to make something but it makes us skilled in general. The use of the hands is vital for the human being, for having flexibility, dexterity. In a way the entire human being is in the in the hands. Our destiny is written in the hand. And what do we do in our modern world with our hands? You know we move the mouse, we drive and so on. We feel plastic most of the time. The hands are relegated to very little that’s actually bringing dexterity to our times. So we have come ever more estranged from nature and from also what other human beings are doing. The whole social element comes into play as well because if I make something then I think hmm, how was that yarn made?

In the past there were all the professions of the shoe maker and the tailor and so on and that’s also being lost. If you do practical work somewhere on the school grounds, there is practical work going on, the children will all go to that, they’re really drawn to that. They want to experience it and however the reality is that there’s less and less of that. In the home, you know you can use already bought vegetables, all chopped up and ready to eat. There is very little activity like kneading the bread, and you know children grasp first an item and then they grasp with their mind. So if they have very little to grasp other than plastic readymade toys then what their mind grasps is very little. The toy automatically moves and you know children can only be kind of astonished by that.

So though there is this loss of understanding the value of things, of the meaning of things, and in hand work, in transforming nature we also make something truly unique that we have made with our hands, stitch by stitch, that maybe we have chosen the yarn, we have even spun the yarn – even better uh and that we have designed. And when I do that, I feel whole. I feel I am experiencing my inner core because it’s a meditative process. You have to find your way; you have to listen with your whole being. And that is the schooling that we all need today. Because we’re so egocentric and this makes us think of what is needed by something else. So we are in a way practicing empathy -empathy with the material, empathy with the design. I think this practicing of empathy that we do in the fiber crafts is paramount for being healing to our world. And it’s a service for the divine that we are surrounded by."



  1. Oh I am so, so glad you shared this! What a deeply inspiring, beautiful, nourishing set of ideas. I think one of the best delights is hearing things expressed that you've always deeply felt but never put into words yourself. And another of the nest delights is your winter nature table with the baby snuggled in its papoose :)

  2. I completely agree Anna. Completely.
    Again, so wonderful of you to come by and see what we've been up to. Your own work is so gorgeous. LOVE those pebble dolls! Such creative patience. ♥

  3. The kids are in bed and it's been a long and busy day. Having just listened to Renate's video, i suddenly find myself feeling really quite still and peaceful. Thank you so much for sharing it. I'm grateful for my plug-in time-saving devices, but I also love that i've chosen not to buy many of the ones i've found myself tempted by as it brings me back to using my hands, my arms and sometimes my back and nearly always given me another opportunity to lose myself in a moment of mindful stirring or scrubbing, brushing or kneading. And if it's not interrupted by other thoughts wanting to be heard, then it's almost certainly the voice of my little man asking to have a go. And then I get to watch 'him' wrap 'his' beautiful nearly 4 year old little paws around whatever task I was doing, and the meditation, wonder and feelings of pride come in watching him lose himself in his handiwork and play :)

  4. Beautiful words (as always) Arzu! Thanks so much for commenting ღ


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment ♥
To contact me directly, please email me at HinterlandMama (!AT)gmail(DOT)com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...