About a month ago on my birthday I was standing in a small church fellowship hall in Terre Haute with a table full of my wares. It was only the second craft fair I had ever done, and this time the setup was much smaller- only an 8 ft table rather than a 10 by 10 foot booth space. Nonetheless, I felt good about my setup.
Part of my display is a picture of my Grandmother- Minnie Anderson (shown above), and a sign with a dedication to her, which reads, "This booth is lovingly dedicated to my grandmother Minnie Anderson who inspired a love of all things floral and vintage."
Nearly all of the fabric I've used is from her collection of scraps, remnants, and unused fabric she had saved from decades ago. No scrap was too small, and nearly all of it was starched and pressed.
At this particular craft fair, just like the one before, I had so many touching moments of connection with the older women that would stop. They would see Mamaw's picture, read the dedication next to it, and touch their hearts and lock eyes with me. They told me how special it was what I was doing and how proud she would be of me. Then, several of them shared stories of their own about a mother, grandmother, or even great-grandmother who had made something just for them, or taught them how to quilt or sew. I could see them holding that person in their heart, and envisioning the cherished gift or the time spent together.
Virtually none of these interactions resulted in a sale, but I could tell they felt a stirring in their soul as they walked away. It's my greatest hope that I inspire these women to find the quilt or item they were given and touch it and bring life to it once again. If I were somehow responsible for someone dusting off their old Singer or pulling out their tin of buttons and thread and making something happen, or better yet, TEACHING their kids or grandkids how to love the glide of the thread or the hum of the machine... Well, that would be a most rewarding gift.
Handmade is made to be given. The tangible love and work shows with every stitch and every neatly joined patch piece. It's powerful and beautiful and priceless and deep. It's why I craft. May I never forget.