On Slowing Down

corner of a weaved tapestry in white, grey, and teal against a light blue wall
My first wall hanging

“Time is how you spend your love” – Zadie Smith, On Beauty


If there’s anything the past 8 weeks has taught me, it’s that the advice I have been getting from people all around me was much needed: Slow down. I was doing too much. From my father to my peers, everyone was calling me out for being too busy. I’ve always known this about myself and I had cut back (I swear!), even before COVID times. I had focussed on saying “no” to things I wasn’t genuinely interested in since September.  However, not being able to leave the house (with small exceptions) changed my perspective and forced me to make decisions about what needed to be done, what could wait, and what I wanted to do, for myself (gasp!). 

One of the things that brings me joy is gift-giving. From little notes to handmade cards on special occasions or just as every-day surprises, I love to see people smile when they recognize that someone has been thinking of them. I’ve sent food to a few people during isolation to cheer them up, but I’ve been looking for something that I could make, something more personal. When Chip and Sparrow, a weaving-loom business run by a local Guelph maker, popped up on Instagram with a Mother’s Day sale I knew this was the thing I’d been looking for! I’ve wanted to get into weaving for sometime, I love supporting local makers, and, perhaps above all else, I knew I would need to take time out of my day to relax and enjoy the making process. I ordered a starter kit for myself and “squee!”d in excitement.

So, last Saturday, a week after my new loom arrived and my grading was finished for the term, I sat down in the quiet of my bedroom and began to weave. I listened to music I hadn’t enjoyed in ages. I felt the textures of the different fibres that became part of my first project. I thought of my mum and grandmother and all of the materials that passed through their hands over the years of stitching, mending, and needlework. I remembered what it was like to make something physical, that I could look at and enjoy. I recognized what it mean to slow down. 

My first wall hanging (the photo attached) is far from perfect, but I LOVE it. It’s hanging to the right of my desk to remind me to take time to breathe and to make time for myself. The next few I make are going to be gifts to friends, sent out into the world in the hopes of sharing that message of taking time: to think, to remember, and to recognize the importance of these creative moments in a world full of busy thoughts and increasing anxiety. As things “return to normal” or begin to open back up, I hope that the world hangs on to all this art, creativity, and community-building and recognizes the importance of it and how it helps us all cope, whether apart or together.

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