Robbie LaFleur

The Value of Things (and Weavings)

Deborah Needleman, in her “Editor’s Letter” in yesterday’s New York Times T Magazine, wrote about fashion and books as desirable physical objects.  I wish I’d written her  words about weaving; they are apt.

“Value is something we bestow upon objects — whether a picture tacked on the wall, a mess of papers, an old typewriter. We animate the inanimate through our memories, associations and desires. … Living in an age when most things are both digital and disposable creates an even more intense longing for physical objects that speak to you and will remain in your life.”

Her entire letter, and the accompanying article about writers and the rooms in which they write, are well worth a read.

One of the most rewarding aspects of creating a textile is finding the perfect recipient who will value my work, sometimes through selling it, other times by giving it as a gift.  The appreciation of that person affirms me through what I have created. For example, my husband is supportive and loving is millions of ways.  Still, one of his most endearing actions was once asking, “Could I take this weaving to my office?”

My husband and I spent a beautiful weekend on Madeline Island with our friends Chad and Sally.  It included golf overlooking the Apostle Islands from a high bluff and eating at a fabulous restaurant, Wild Rice.   I brought a linen runner for them.  Sally Brown is an artist and I know she appreciates handmade items.  Here are photos that Sally sent of the runner in its new home.

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When I took a weaving class in Decorah this summer I stayed in the home of Sarah and Phil Iverson.  Sarah runs Blue Heron Knittery, an enticing shop in downtown Decorah.  I told Sarah last year that I would like to trade my bed and breakfast accommodations for a weaving.  She thought that would be a great idea, particularly because they are remodeling an old house in the country.  I brought three weavings from which she could choose.  When I brought them out, her cats needed to investigate as well.  Sarah chose the krokbragd on which the cat is sitting. Again, it makes me very happy that Sarah and Phil will enjoy the weaving.

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Many years ago I sat at a family gathering, sewing details on a small stuffed rabbit that I was making for a friend’s baby.  It wasn’t intended as a family heirloom, but I was certainly making a personal item for a beloved baby.  A family member, who shall remain nameless, looked at the work in progress and said, “Oh, that would be about $15.00 at a craft sale.”  I was stunned at her lack of understanding about value and intent and meaning in my creation of this modest gift.  I didn’t respond, other than to make the mental note that she would never receive anything from me that I made by hand.

My husband has said to me more than once, “Really? You want to give that away?” So often, the answer is yes – that’s the fun of it.

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2013 by in weaving and tagged , .
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