I am a maker of things. I have been so for most of my life. One of my earliest memories is of my mother, sitting on the couch in the dark living room of our trailer, embroidering tea towels. Her sewing basket piled full of DMC cotton thread sat beside her as she pulled the needle through the fabric, stitching over the faint blue lines of the pre-stamped pattern. I would have been 3 because my mom was pregnant with my sister. A few years later I remember my first attempt at sewing– picking pink thread even though my mom assured me that it didn’t matter what color thread I used. Pulling the needle, clumsily, slowly, through the fabric. Then in and out again with the needle.
Being a maker of things has also made me a giver of things. I have given away countless handknits, embroidery, books and jewelry over the years as well as decoupage boxes, handmade paper cards and hand sewn needle cases. The experience of giving away things is like giving away a little of myself each time. Each piece represents an idea that I had, and the time that I spent making it, the joy, and the frustration, of creating something that I believe will please someone that I care about. Each carries with it the work of my fingers and heart and mind. I care deeply about the objects that I create because within them is a piece of me. And if I’ve given you something it means that I care enough about you to share a small piece of myself with you.
In the act of giving away small pieces of myself I have also learned how to give freely. And by that I mean that when I give away something I have made I give it without expectation. I hope that it pleases the recipient because that is my intention but I have learned to accept that I do not have control over whether they like what I have given them or treat those items with respect. And that is what I mean when I say that give freely. I do it because the act of creating the object and giving it away gives me joy. I recognize that if the gift isn’t appreciated that I must let any hurt that I feel slide off my shoulders like rain running down a gutter. To do anything else would extinguish the happiness I derive from the process.