At the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, I often hear people say things like, "These are my people." Or "I feel like I have come home and don't have to explain myself here." And while I totally understand the sentiment, it is not how I have felt. No matter how much fun it is, no matter that I eagerly commune with as many wooly friends aka sheep as I can during that one, glorious day (and it is glorious), there is this distance between me and everyone else. I love knitters and spinners - please do not misunderstand! - but that sense of deep releasing security in the knowledge that there is, in fact, a community of like-minded people to which one wholeheartedly belongs - no. It isn't there.
You can't fake something like that. It is like going to church. For years, I went to church, various churches. I looked around at the people there and felt jealous. They all seemed to believe in what they were saying and hearing and singing. I so wanted to believe too! But there was this nagging problem, which was that I didn't believe. Saying those prayers, I could feel - taste - the falseness the instant it came out of my mouth. There was nothing wrong with what I was saying but I knew that I was faking it.
At Rhinebeck, I always feel, just a little, like a faker. Sure, I knit and spin and I will roll around naked in a pile of Rambouillet - just point me in the right direction - but I have this little secret: I don't just do this for the love of it. I am not satisfied by this.
Honestly, this is not so different from how I feel at various art openings. I so want to believe that these are my people. Other artists, right? We get each other. But even here, there is that gap...I am not quite one of you. You see, I have this little secret: I don't just do this. I am not satisfied by this.
Throughout this past weekend of events at A Handmade Assembly, I had a new feeling. A feeling that I couldn't quite articulate until the very last event of the whole Assembly. It was during the closing remarks, when the two moderators were trying to make some sense of the whole thing, that I realized that, yes, THESE are my people. We make art. We make stuff. We let it ALL in.