Sub Titles: Tatting as Art; What I Learned from Book Club; Everything Can be Related to Tatting; Reading vs. Tatting?–or both!
As a kid, I was a ravenous reader…even nightly tempting the rath of my father who used to yell at me to stop reading and go to sleep. But my reading stopped when I got to college (there were so many things I HAD to read and soo little time). When I got married out of college, my life was filled with starting a job and keeping up with an active husband who always had a new hobby to investigate as well as learning to relax. It was also in this same time frame of college and new home/job/marriage that I rediscovered tatting. Tatting I found, was cheap and portable and I could work on in little spurts of time–the perfect relaxation technique for an active person. Thus reading was further usurped in my life.
Soo….flash forward to about a year ago, when I was invited to join the neighborhood women’s book club. My kids are out of the house, my home is fairly the way I want it to be…I was ready for a new challenge. This seemed like a good way to get me out of my ‘normal’ routine and embrace something new (plus I knew that book club events involved wine and treats!) so I joined. Some of the books I have liked, some not so much. However just recently we were to read Shell Collectorby Allan Doerr. As usual, I had drug-my-feet in getting/reading the book and the time was coming close to ‘book club night’. So I went onto the author’s website to see what I could learn about the book and whether I truly wanted to invest $12 and the time to read it (time that I could be tatting &/or creating tatting patterns!). I was pleasantly surprised to read some Essays he had on his website and learned that I did enjoy his writings. On the website was an essay that Allan Doerr had written about traveling to the Arctic in which I found the following quote:
Among the things I’ve brought to the Arctic is a 1917 essay titled “Art as Technique,” by a Russian named Viktor Shklovsky. In it, Shklovsky argues that routines function as a kind of anesthetic in our lives. “If we start to examine the general laws of perception,” he writes, “we see that as perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic….If one remembers the sensations of holding a pen or of speaking in a foreign language for the first time and compares that with his feeling at performing the action for the ten thousandth time, he will agree with us.”
But art, Shklovsky says, ought to help us recover the sensations of life, ought to revivify our understanding of things—clothes, war, marriage—that habit has made familiar. Art exists, he argues, “to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known.”
Sometimes you have to make yourself a stranger to your own life in order to recognize the things you take for granted. Like sunsets, or hot showers, or alphabets. My health, my family, the streams of photons sent from our star—how had I stopped actually seeing these things?
This is how I ‘see’ my tatting…as art. I use tatting (ie. my tatting design work) to view the world in a ‘special’ way. I look at pattens and repetition in all kinds of places and convert those ‘discoveries’ into my unique tatting designs. It gives me an ‘excuse’ to look at the world around me much the same way that the author of the essay “Art as Technique” refers to. I have been known to ask women if I could photograph or sketch the design on their purse or scarf in coffee shops! I see pattern/repetition in architectural elements that can be converted to a tatting pattern. I scribble out design ideas on any scrap of paper that I can find at a moments notice. I am comforted knowing that the deposit slips in my checkbook are always there for an emergency sketch. Cash register receipts are always and option too. I have many designs/ideas/sketches waiting for their turn to become ‘tatting’. (If only I could quit my day job and devote myself to that endeavor full-time!!!!—such a pipe-dream!)
I just finished the tatting of this cross this morning. The ‘almost’ done part of this project is all the ends (2 ends X 20 motifs = 40 thread ends) to complete. I have a train trip planned in about two weeks that this project is perfect for! This cross has 3 of my favorite colors in it. It is a bold color choice….but it is MY color choice.
#1: Carnelian beads coordinated with an orange focal (Jasper?) drop. #2: Flourite & amethyst beads with a flourite focal bead. #3: Sugilite and metal beads. #4: Jade & garnet beads with a jasper focal bead. #5&6: handmade (by me) enameled pendant drop & earrings sets
My handmade enameled jewelry sets
I have been determined to stay away from engaging in 3 things: bobbin lace, quilting, & beading. I KNOW I would enjoy doing all three. BUT I know that all three of these artforms require a considerable outlay of time and money for supplies/materials. In otherwords, these artforms can ‘consume’ a person such as myself. Thus, I have stayed focused first on tatting (and other things relating to tatting: designing, publishing, shuttle-making–sterling silver & enameling) and specialty needlework techniques including needlelaces.
However, once a year I go to the local rock club’s (which I just joined this year!) Rock, Gem & Mineral Show with a good friend. Once there, I am tempted and do buy some strands of natural beads. This same friend (Thanks Lisa L.S.!) also taught me how to turn my bead strands into jewelry using stringing/finishing techniques.
Just recently, I pulled out all the beads that I had strung and finished them into necklaces–the four from L to R.
The bottom photo is of my handmade enameled jewelry. I have a cobalt blue blouse I wear the right set with. I still need to find the perfect outfit for the purple jewelry set.
The photos shows what my tatting shuttle collection looks like. This is the glass case that I have and the reason why I didn’t buy any of the metal/glass boxes I found recently in The Pottery Barn store.
I have had this glass/metal box for several years now. I prompted my husband to buy it for me as a Mother’s Day present from this kids about 10-15 years ago. It was for sale in a Hallmark store. I actually got something that I wanted and liked that year for Mother’s Day!
I don’t consider myself a true tatting shuttle collector. I first started looking for shuttles about 30 years ago in antique stores while my husband I were traveling. I seemed always be there ‘the day after’ a really beautiful/unique one had sold previously. Later, I found out that my tatting friend Cindy Costantinou was probably the one who had gotten them! But I kept looking in the late 80’s and as the years progressed started seeing the prices of antique tatting shuttles rise quite dramatically. At one point when I had found a rather beautiful, but pricey, tatting shuttle and was contemplating its purchase, my husband told me that I needed to decide whether I was a ‘collector’ or not. I walked away from the purchase of that shuttle with the realization that I was a ‘Tatter’ not a ‘collector’. That decision saved me from spending a lot of money on a true tatting shuttle collection. However, I still enjoyed (and still do today) the hunt for tatting shuttles and will occasionally buy one IF the price is reasonable.
I am fairly pleased still today that I am not a true shuttle collector. The high prices that antique tatting shuttles (and other needlework tools) were going for in the late 80’s/early 90’s is not being realized today. The other issue I see with collecting antique tatting shuttles from an investment perspective is that there doesn’t seem to be a reference guide with prices that antique dealers and collectors can use (at least with my knowledge of the industry about 10-15 years ago). Sadly my friend, Cindy C. has passed away. Her brother has her collection. I am sure that he is not able to get the value that she paid for each piece.
I was having coffee with the neighborhood women this morning and decided afterward to pop into some of the stores of the shopping mall.
I wandered into Pottery Barn mostly to look at colors (for my enameling work–can’t really justify their prices + I really don’t need anything!) and found these wonderful glass and metal boxes. They were being marketed as ‘jewelry’ boxes….but I saw their beauty as being ‘tatting shuttle collection’ boxes.
I actually already have a glass/metal Tatting Shuttle Collection Box. I had seen this years ago and told my husband, who bought it and let the kids give it to me for Mother’s Day.