Inspiration to Make Something Handcrafted

[nextpage title=”Crafted” ]Ever since Morgan Spurlock made the movie Super Size Me I’ve been a fan of his work.  Some may think he is a sensationalist or a propagandist, but I think his work makes people reflect on how they are living their lives.  After I returned home today from volunteering with my daughter’s first grade class I made myself some breakfast and sat down to watch something on Hulu.  Amongst all the horrifying and disgusting new releases there was a beacon of informative bliss – a movie called Crafted.

In this 24 minute documentary Morgan Spurlock follows three groups of artisans – bladesmiths, Japanese potters, and chefs – to find their inspiration for making a living from crafting things by hand.  This movie made me yearn to continue learning more about heirloom foods, traditional recipes, long lost skills and crafts.  If you’ve read my blog posts before you’ll know that though I am no a “super crunchy” mama I do appreciate artisanal crafts, old world techniques and getting back in touch with traditional food preparation for health reasons.[/nextpage]

[nextpage title=”America’s Downfall” ]For years I’ve looked around at how people live their lives today and felt a level of desperation and frustration at how disconnected we are from the sources of the goods we consume.  Everything is disposable and our food devoid of nutritional value.  As a people we have become complacent and lazy without appreciation for things crafted by hand.  Sadly we have become more concerned about how much things cost as opposed to how good they are or how long they’ll last.  Granted sometimes necessity is the impetus behind this attitude but on a grand scale greed is to blame.

Too often so called American companies off-shore their production of goods to save a few bucks only to have their products and processes pirated.  Unfortunately, we are all to blame to some degree because we take for granted where or how things are made focusing only on how much it costs.  That is until someone gets hurt.

What happens though when corporations find the need to start re-shoring their operations?  Will their be enough skilled or even willing labor to make good product?  Products made in the USA were always considered to be the penultimate in quality because the people who owned the production facilities and their employees actually cared about the product and by extension who was going to use it.  Finding places like that anymore are hard to come by these days.[/nextpage]


[nextpage title=”Molding The Future” ]Watching this documentary gave me hope that there is a movement to “slow down”, “disconnect” and take in interest in working with our hands.  There is a bright little boy I work with at times at the school who is so deeply ingrained with playing video games he cares for nothing else.  It’s practically a fight every time the teacher asks me to help them on an extension project which requires him to draw or be creative with his words.  He says he wants to grow up to make a living playing video games.  It makes me sad.  I’m sure there is a career in that somehow, but he fails to see that he still needs to learn to read, write, do well in math and develop his creative abilities.  I try to remind him gently that he has hands for a reason and that he needs to learn to use them properly so he can do all things well.  He is VERY capable and bright, but it makes me wonder how or what kind of attention, if any, he is getting at home to encourage his mental and emotional development.

As parents we can’t leave the job of educating our children to the teachers.  I’ve had the chance to see first hand how hard they work to try and help each child on their individual level.  With 20 to 30 kids per class they can only do so much.  It’s been a privilege to help out even a little.  Reading with our kids, teaching them how to make something crafty, encouraging them to learn to cook, helping them develop good habits for cleanliness, showing them to appreciate what they have and how to care for it are just a few ways we can show them we care and help them to become productive adults.  Setting limits on use of technology – tablets, game consoles, television and computers – is also a must to help them hone their attention spans.

They other day I had both my girls ages 9 and 6 in the kitchen with me helping make supper.  I showed the older one how to make refried beans from scratch.  The little one wanted so badly to cook but was too afraid to get close to the stove which is understandable.  She was my gofer and wash-girl.  Not only did they feel happy helping, it made me feel good that they felt good about themselves and learned something in the process.[/nextpage]

[nextpage title=”Reconnecting” ]

This movie gave me more encouragement to continue making my fermented drinks and foods and to pursue raising chickens for eggs and meat and eventually getting a couple of goats for milk and meat.  I realize it will be a lot of work, but I remember as a kid the pleasure I got from knowing “my” chickens provided eggs for the family.  Making sure I kept them fed and clean would mean we may also have chicks which was always fun.  Though I never had the affinity for sewing that my mother does I have always enjoyed learning how to do new things.  Processes both modern and traditional have always fascinated me and I want my children to know the joy of working with their hands.

Is there a craft you’ve always wanted to learn?[/nextpage]

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