Today, we gathered to create “art lapel pins,” an idea inspired by my friend Marianne Brown. The initial purpose was to hand stitch lapel pins and the proceeds would help our fundraising efforts for the film Under the Pearl Moon. And yes, in that sense, the afternoon did help to bring us closer to our goal. But it did something more, as well. There are certain things we don't often do together as women, like hand-stitching. Yes, it seems very old fashioned but I have the sense when I stitch with my daughter or my women friends (like today), that something else is going on: something under the surface.
Throughout the afternoon, there were times of quiet as all of us focused on our work. Other times there was laughter and story-telling. As we worked, I felt that were not only stitching cloth and beads and silk threads but we were also stitching our conversations and our thoughts and our creativity. I am reminded of the Finnish women and their “sewing circles” at the turn of the century. As these women sewed, they also organized themselves as an integral part of the labour movement. Though our sewing circle today may have had a less urgent purpose, it still carried with it that weight of women gathering for the greater good of the community. And this has left an impression of richness in my life today.
|Yellow tulips and a long table of buttons, beads and silk string.|
|Beautiful selection of beads and pearls|
|Threading those needles!|
|A completed lapel pin.|
(These photograpsh were taken by Marianne Brown throughout our afternoon together.)