Making Meaning & Magic
It’s the season of the (fiber) witch--I mean honestly, the correlation of knitting season and spooky season is just so perfect--so naturally I want to talk about making meaning and magic with your fibercraeft. I’ve been noticing a lot of buzz around the thought, care, and intention of correspondences of your tools and materials in crafting, which I absolutely adore, but let me be clear--you do not need a correspondence book to do this work. The next book I come across that lays out that only certain colors can be used for certain things, or only certain tools made of particular materials will work, I’m going to throw out the window.
While correspondence lists/charts/books can definitely inform your work, here’s the thing, if it’s meaningful to you, for whatever reason, then use it for that reason. What’s important is what resonates with you. What relationship does that color, material, or specific tool have with you? That’s it, that’s all.
I was recently teaching my Hedge Riding with Wool & Spindle class and mentioned the use of spindles made of quaking aspen traditionally used for this type of work. If you’re working in a traditional grimoire tradition or particular historical context, then maybe it would be personally important to you to have a quaking aspen spindle, but to successfully jump the hedge, any spindle will do.
Same goes for colors--some people have almost dogmatic beliefs around color correspondences, yet cultural context behind color changes depending on your circumstances. Factor in any natural dyeing and you’re working with attributes from the plants and the like, and even that is up to your bioregion, heritage, and personal preferences. In fact when I teach natural dyeing, one of the most important practices I encourage students to do is spend time with the raw plant or other dye material to establish or build upon their personal relationship with it. Even if they don’t believe in plant spirit communication, I think there’s lots to be learned from engaging with the physical touch and texture of the material, the smell, and other sensory experiences provided by the dye material itself.
So how do you make meaning and magic with fibercraeft? Understanding, creating, and nurturing the relationship between the materials and tools you use, the resulting fiberwork you create, and how it lives out it’s life after it leaves your hands, that’s the formula. The focus there being on the words “you” and “relationship.” That is the “intent” in being intentional. So next time you set out for some fiber witchin’ ask yourself:
-What is the relationship between myself and the tools & techniques I am using?
-What is the relationship between the materials I am using?
-What is the anticipated relationship with the resulting work?
-What is my relationship with the work while I am in process with it?
-How are all of the answers to the questions above in relationship with one another?