I've known about the Slow Food movement for years. It's the one where you take time to cook delicious food and eat leisurely meals. The other night while crafting with friends I heard about the Slow Music movement. It's where bands play a series of gigs in a town over a period of weeks, getting to know the place and it's people. It got me to thinking about the way I make. And guess what? It's slow!
The vest I'm wearing in that picture took me over a month to make. It was a slow process as I returned to it when I had a moment or two to spare and when I had figured out the nest step in the process!
It took time to sort through my fabric stash and find the burgundy wool I had machine felted a couple of years ago for my winter coat. There wasn't enough for that project so it's been sitting there, waiting patiently for its moment to shine! It only took a day to create the pattern (tracing around a favourite top) and cut it out. Fast making for me!
Then I got nervous and left it pinned, ready for sewing. Always that nagging doubt, "What if it doesn't work?" Eventually I gathered my courage, dived right in and sewed. And it didn't quite work. So it sat there for a bit while I figured out what to do to fix it. Not too hard in the end - just a nip and a tuck here and there.
And most of it wasn't too hard - I just needed time to mull things over and space to be okay with things not working out as expected. That's the beauty and the curse of the handmade. You can make what you want but it doesn't always turn out how you imagined. Sometimes though, it's better. Like my gorgeous new vest!
Next, the big question. How to adorn it? I wanted something bold, colourful and natural. Time spent dreaming and searching through my crafting stash came up with some wool roving for needle felting. The tree was needle felted on the Winter Solstice while beeswax candles burned in the window and my gorgeous girls played happily around me. That memory and experience are now part of my vest and I'll remember that moment every time I wear it.
Once the tree was done I had to figure out how to finish the front. I knew I wanted to appliqué leaves to match the tree on the back but wasn't sure what to use. Once I decided to use what I already had in my stash, it narrowed the choice. I ended up sewing on a leaf made from vegetable tanned, kangaroo skin on the front. The buttons are made from a fallen foraged branch of a Red Bloodwood tree comes from a local park.
I really love the mix of crafting skills that went into creating my unique new garment. It's a great reflection of the the crafts I like to do - sewing, leather craft and woodwork. It has been machine and needle felted as well as hand and machine sewn. Traditional and modern techniques, hand and machine. It's all in there somewhere!
It makes me happy that I used things I already had in my craft stash to make it. The magic art of making do with what you already have.
And I adore this vest. It fits me beautifully and is a reflection of the maker that I am. One who works slowly, in a variety of crafts while using natural materials.
So here's to the Slow Making movement. One where we make the things we need, slowly. Where we enjoy the process along the way.