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  • Happy to own a good many sweetgrass baskets. And I’ve always talked with the basket maker when I bought one. Hope there are new basket makers learning so the tradition will continue.

  • I feel the same at an art show. Talking to the artists you learn so much!

  • This is all SO amazing! I’m still ????

  • Thanks Ann. These are fascinating. On a larger scale of art and craft, have you ever seen the film about the making of a Steinway piano? It’s called Note by Note. It’s wonderful.

  • Incredible! BTW, your half-sister is a very lucky lady to have such embroidery in her wedding costume. A nephew of mine is getting married soon, so I have heard endless stories from his bride=to-be of how machine-made lace can cost thousands upon thousands here — yet the quality is no where near as good!

  • Thanks so much for this. In our mass-produced world, it lifts my spirits to see where handmade survives. The beauty and meaning makes us human.

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  • My daughter is a ballerina, as a student her shoes DO last longer than a day. She usually rotates a near dying shoe, a well broken in shoe and a new shoe. Depending on the brand and the sale we find it can be 70-100 a pair. We sew on ribbons and elastic. My skills are not up to any sort of customizing. I wish sometime at some ballet even there was a class for how to do all that. Lately she has been wanting to change brands, no because anything is wrong with her usual brand but to experience more shoes. And expensive search…

  • Ann, a few posts back you shared with us your lovely knit kerchief that had mistakenly too many stitches in the border. You decided to block it anyway, rather than frog: creativity, freedom of decision = craft, art. Had you been in that cooperative, it would have been frogged for you: strict, rigid guidelines, deadlines for completion = commerce, survival.

    To me, the boundaries are quite clear. They do not overlap, but are world’s apart.

    LoveDiane

  • Extraordinary, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  • Loved the women’s cooperative story especially – just wonderful to hear an ongoing success story like that one!
    And the pointe shoes were a revelation. The featured dancer did a great job of bringing the viewer into her world. I think my favorite part was the little smile and gulp after she said, “you never know when you’re going to fall.” So true. I should probably wearing an entire outfit coated with rosin.

  • It’s Sr. Lucia, not Sr. Mary. The organization is St. Mary’s Mahila Shikshan Kendra in Ahmedabad. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Sr. Lucia and buying some exquisite pieces but I really didn’t know the backstory. It makes sense. Sr. Lucia is originally from Spain and SMMSK is her life’s work.

    There has been a lot of shoddy craftsmanship in India lately mixed in with the exquisite stuff, and it continues to be heartening to see a pursuit of excellence in craft. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a wealth of lovely videos. My favorite was the piece on the St. Mary’s cooperative. I love India and have been several times … the women are just so gracious and loving. And they use their feet so much more than we do! Also loved how almost every video featured the threading of needles. We all do it so similarly. Thanks for sharing these.

  • I have watched this over and over, the last traditional clog-maker in England and his apprentice (so hopefully he won’t actually be the last!) :

    https://vimeo.com/155192107

  • I find the Freed of London factory to be very interesting, I bought my pointe shoes from them for years. My favorite shoe was the Studios II with the hard shank, because the arches of my feet are so high that I could break a pair of shoes in a handful of hour long classes. They’re definitely a beautifully made item, I still have several pairs in various stages of wear that can still go en pointe a decade after I stopped dancing.

  • A little google effort and I found there are items made by the Indian women in the video at 10,000 Villages. I must go buy something! MAybe we can get them making knitting bags. Those would sell out! Thanks for sharing these.

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Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.