Someone said to me recently, when I was struggling to write my bio, “Don’t say your Mother taught you to crochet at 5. Everyone says that!” Well, I don’t think that is true and if it is, those of us who can say that are very lucky indeed. My Mother did teach me to crochet at 5, after I failed to learn to knit. I couldn’t understand how knit stitches worked and she couldn’t explain how to fix the ones that didn’t, so we did crochet for a year and then tried knitting again, with more success, followed by embroidery and sewing.
For those of us in the lucky group that had Moms or relatives or friends to teach us, what they taught us forms a connection, a thread from them to us, something that binds us to them and the past and brings a comfort today. When I sit down with my crochet hook or pick up a stitch I dropped while knitting, I can almost feel her hands on mine and hear her in my ear. Don’t misunderstand me, my Mom was not a good knitter. I am not sure she could purl. She did not make us sweaters or hats but what she gave me has kept me warm in many ways for years.
The skills and confidence she gave me to work with my hands has also stayed with me. It’s not the stitches that really matter, those can be learned as you go. It is the puzzling it out, learning to problem solve, reading and comprehending, color!, complexity, creativity, it’s the doing of it. I am a better knitter now and spinning and weaving are skills I have added to what she taught me, but they are all based on that foundation she gave me.
In my early 20’s I discovered glass and those same skills earned me a living for 30 years of glassblowing. The process has no similarities but all the skills in my mental toolbox came into play everyday in the hotshop. Color and complexity and creativity, those are the three C’s of inspiration for me.
Now that I am shutting down my big studio and moving to smaller glass on the torch, fiber is taking over a lot of my creative time. It always has been a thread in the background, to be picked up when a hat or baby blanket was needed but glass is a consuming craft, leaving little time for other creative thought. Now my time can be spent on fiber again and it is a comforting thing to come back to. Passing along those skills has been a joy also. Teaching spinning and weaving remind me of how lucky that 5 year old was to have those guiding hands on mine and how important it is to keep that thread going. Mother to daughter, friend to friend, teacher to student, strong ties that bind the past to the future.
Here is the bio that goes out with my classes.
Constance Hall loves that being creative is a journey that takes a lifetime and the fiber world is a wonderful place to travel. She began her fiber explorations with crochet, followed by knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving, and felting. All the while being a full time glassblower. Now teaching fiber arts and pattern design for Schacht Spindle Company fill her time. Introducing students to new skills and seeing where it takes them is the pay off of years of study. This year her patterns will be included in Creative Knitting and Handwoven Magazine as well as on the Schacht website, www.schachtspindle.com.
She is part of a dynamic group that brought Spinzilla to life in 2013 and is back for year 2. Constance moderates the Zoom Loom and Spinzilla groups on Ravlery, under her ravtar Dyeology. She is also on the Spin-Off advisory committee.