Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Gift of Harikuyo

This morning of Harikuyo, I awoke to a gray day.  Today is the day that I take the broken needles from the back page of my needlebook and lay them to rest.

My needlebook was waiting for me right where I had left it.

It gets used quite often so it can get pretty messy and disorganized over time.

I use that little pocket in the front to hold curved and super-tiny size 16 beading needles that would bend if placed in a page...

Just like last year, I placed my broken needles in a soft cottonball cloud...

Only two this year and both were beading needles.  One of them is burned, poor thing.  For the life of me I can't remember how...

I wrapped them in old pattern paper and placed them in the ground with a note of gratitude and a prayer for the future.

Fittingly, I buried them with the rose bushes this year because I could really use some help making Mrs. Rose's rose bower.

In particular...thorns...

Not sure yet how I'm going to make three-dimensional thorns for my roses so I'll take all the help I can get.

As I mentioned last time, I'm going to make a new needlebook.  Probably has something to do with that  Planning Fallacy problem I wrote about the other day.  I have a bad case of it.

What I did manage to do was pull together the books I have on Mrs. Delany.  She's my design inspiration for my needlebook.  And I settled on this image as the design I'd like to use for the cover.

No surprise that it's a rose.  I've got roses on the brain lately.

I wasn't stitching this morning.

Instead I awoke with a profound sense of gratefulness for all of you who have embraced the idea of honoring your needles.  There really are hundreds of you who have taken the course, bought labels, shared the tradition with groups of friends.  It's quite beautiful to think that by writing a blog, one idea could catch on.

Along those lines, I've been reading a book titled The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde.  It's hard to describe the full scope of this book; a fact the author readily admits to in the Introduction.

Ultimately it describes a problem -- the disconnect between the practice of art and common forms of earning a living.  The first couple of chapters deal with the concept of gifts in myth, in fairy tale and in history.  He gives example after example of how gifts are powerful, that "lifelessness leaves the soul when a gift comes toward us". 

A work of art itself is a gift:  it contains the the vitality of the artist's gift within the work and makes that gift available to others.  "Works we come to treasure are those which transmit that vitality and revive the soul.  Such works circulate among us as reservoirs of available life".   

I love that phrase, reservoirs of available life.

He relays many instances of gift exchange both in fairy tale, myth and in native cultures.  And one idea has struck me the most.  In all the stories, the gift has to keep giving.  It has to keep moving.  If someone commodifies a gift by selling it...or takes it out of circulation to keep for themselves alone...then the gift ceases to be a gift.

Which leads me to today.  

I believe that the idea for this needlebook was given through me as a gift; and all of you who have supported that gift by buying the class, kits or labels...allowing me to cover my costs and do what I love.  But a part of each transaction remains a gift.  Something more has happened beyond the mere buying and selling of products  And that something more should move on in the world and continue to give.

In honor of each one of you who have adopted this needlebook, this soulful approach to your needles, I have made a donation to Friendship Bridge.  

Friendship Bridge's mission is to provide microcredit and educatioon to Guatemalan women so they can create their own solutions to proverty for themselves, their families and their communities.  Many of them do that through traditional needle and textile arts.  Check out their website here or follow them on Facebook here.

Take a moment to watch this and you'll see what I mean.

Thanks to you, we just might transmit some vitality and help to revive the livelihoods of a few women in Guatemala.

"Only when the increase of gifts moves with the gift may the accumulated wealth of our spirit continue to grow among us, so that each of us may enter, and be revived by, a vitality beyond his or her solitary powers."

I'm looking forward to sharing this day by visiting your blogs or seeing your pictures on instagram or Facebook.  If you'd like, add your name and link in the Mr. Linky widget below so we know where to find you:

Here's to another year where we get the chance to stitch and to break some more needles.

Aren't we lucky?


coral-seas said...

I'll be back to read this later (I'm cooking dinner for my parents right now) but I just wanted to let you know that in honour of Harikuyo, which I like to celebrate with you :-), I have written about a needle adventure on my blog today.

Happy Harikuyo.

coral-seas said...

Oops, sorry I forgot to add the link

DebbieSFL said...

Susan, I have posted about Harikuyo on my blog today and have linked to your blog. Thanks again for sharing this with us.

Eva Maria Keiser said...

Beautiful article, thank you for sharing.
-Eva Maria

Jane said...

Off to do a post now. I feel I've missed out on your needlebook adventures. I only use my Japanese needles which live in their needlefelt and I've never managed to break one. Perhaps a cleaning fest in their honour (and not forgetting my teko bari)

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

This was beautiful! I want to see if the library has that book as it looks very interesting and motivating.

I enjoyed the video very much. These ladies are smiling and creating.


gracie said...

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for encouraging me in so many ways. Lots of stitching this past year but alas, no broken needles.

deb* said...

Lovely post---thank you.

Createology said...

I am always so blessed to learn from your sharing of knowledge Susan. Thank you dear. I have honored my needles this past year...alas none broken or worn out. I must be stitching too little and too gently. Creative Harikuyo Bliss...

Unknown said...

Hi Susan, I have posted on my blog about Hari-Kuyo and linked. Thanks SO very much for returning to the blogging world, your posts are so amazingly interesting ~ Rae ~


Thanks for the reminder Susan and a great post, lots to think about.

Rachel said...

I'm totally bemused by your burnt needle, I must say!
No broken needles this year..

liniecat said...

Yes me too, how on earth could you burn a needle lol
Singing edges on ribbons?
Poking the eyes out of dragons or vampires? !
I wonder if you could make 3D thorns by using dribbled glue?
If you have a glue gun, you can easily get 'overspill' dribbles and its not too difficult to make your own shapes, with practise.
I think you can even get coloured glue sticks now but in any case youd be able to paint them, or possibly wrap thread round them after adding a little glue stick to the surface?
You could also dollop marvin medium pva and allow it days to dry out. It leaves a rubbery pancake shape and you could then carve a thorn shape from that. It would likely be more 2D unless you do the dollop quite thick!

Daška said...

Krásna tradice. Taky se přidám.

The Crow said...

My needles are stuck in a pin cushion, in a sheet of tissue paper, in an old bead bottle and in a couple of pieces of ratty, really old felt. It is time to make a couple of new needlebooks, I think.

I am enjoying your posts.

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