A couple of things have got me thinking recently about how craft, all elements of it, can be quite moving. Yes, moving.
I spent some time with my parents in their home town of Belfast (Northern Ireland, not north of Christchurch) and we stumbled across a quilt on display in a shopping mall. It hung, without any pomp or ceremony, in the midst of the busy thoroughfare. It was made up of hundreds of squares, each made by the family of someone lost in that city's long and bloody conflict. Most incorporated a photo with words and symbolism of some sort.
As my parents searched for people they knew, people killed as teenagers, the parents of childhood friends, the girl next door or the father of a cousin's husband, I found myself blinking back hot, heavy tears at the sadness of it all even decades after most of them died.
I knew none of these people but each square had been lovingly, delicately and probably tearfully created and they were a tangible testament to the pain felt by each family and friend. It was a silent reminder to all, silent but so poignant.
It brought me right back to Christchurch, to the days, weeks and months following the quakes, when I felt that same sense of loss. So much had changed forever and everyone I know was hurting in some way.
Just as my parents moved from Belfast for safer shores, we too have moved from Christchurch, though it is our heartfelt hope that we will return to rejoin the friends, family and community we have left behind for now.
But before we made the decision to move, one of the things that touched me and made me realise that the rest of the country and plenty of people overseas were thinking of us was Hearts for Christchurch. Oh how I cried when I first found out about it. For me, the idea that hundreds and then thousands of people from around the country and the world had taken the trouble to make something with their hands for my broken hometown and its people was so touching. It still is. Thank you Evie Harris, thank you. Just check out this photo of Te Papa staff sorting through them for an exhibition. Amazing.
I can't forget the yarn bombers either. It really lifted my spirits to see the fencing or road cones around a demolition zone tarted up with a jaunty little knitted item. Thank you to those people too. I blinked back many tears when coming across new additions on my drive to work.
So you can see why I have been thinking about how handmade items can touch us in a way that is harder for a shop-bought item to achieve. However thoughtful a shop-bought item is and no matter how much affection it was given with, I can't help but feel that making something from scratch imbues it with even more love. Just like the cross-stitch blanket my mum made for my babies. It's a treasure and will forever remind me of good times with her.
Do you agree? Maybe I feel this way because I personally enjoy making things, but perhaps those who don't would feel differently? Was anyone else as touched as me by Hearts for Christchurch? I hope so. Am I just overly sentimental, or has someone made something for you that has made tears well up?
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