Sunday, August 26, 2012

Norse myth in which Thor dresses as Freya

One morning Thor woke up to find that his hammer was missing.  Well, this was a problem because his hammer is the most powerful weapon in all of Asgard, and in the wrong hands, well that would just be terrible.  Thor asked Loki if he could help him find the hammer.  Loki agreed, he suspected he might know who did it anyway.  Loki went to the giants and asked about the Hammer.  Thrym, one of these giants said, "Yeah, I stole the hammer, and you guys aren't getting it back unless you send Freya to marry me."

When Loki returned he told everyone, "look I've got some bad news.  Thrym has the hammer and he won't give it back unless we send Freya to marry him."  Freya was like, "Oh hell no." and the other gods agreed, they had too much respect for her to do anything like that.  Just then Loki had a plan, "What if we dressed Thor as Freya and sent him instead?"

So, Thor put on a fancy wedding dress and a veil and went to meet the giant Thrym.  When he arrived Thrym was super jazzed to get exactly what he had asked for and immediately handed the hammer over to Thor (who he thought was Freya).  At that moment Thor tore off the gown and bludgeoned the giants to death.

At this point in the telling of the story my sister snorts with laughter.  I am glad that she shares in my delight with this particular myth.  It is a story I tell as I explain why I am working on a rather elaborate doily- to make a veil (the pattern of the doily was chosen because it resembled a spider web...because, oh what a tangled web we weave... and so on).  I wondered many times during the process of making this worth it?  Now that I've finished I think I can safely say, yes.  Yes, I think it was worth the frustration, the cramped hands, and the frown lines that were etched on my face as I worked on this beloved project.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The quiet sadness of doilies

This weekend I enjoyed a trip to Antique World. While my friend perused the vintage paperback booth seeking treasures in pulp and science fiction I planted myself in the booth containing doilies and buttons...among other things including, but not limited to vintage shoes and clothing, and Spice Girl dolls.  I spent enough time poring over the doilies that one of the women working that day stopped to ask if I needed help.  I told her thank you, no.  I was just admiring the beauty of the doilies, and imagining the hard work that went into making them.  I went on to tell her that I made these kinds of things myself and was looking for pattern ideas.  Perhaps I offered too much information, and she might have preferred a simple, "no thanks," but   I found myself oddly touched (in that way that indicates slight insanity) by these doilies.

Because I have logged countless hours, hook in hand, lovingly creating project after project, I have a profound appreciation for the art of the craft.  I have been told repeatedly- you should sell your work.  When I hear this my thoughts go immediately to the racks of afghans at thrift stores, and to the doily basket at Antique World.

I have always been overly sentimental.  For years I did not throw away shoes, even after they had broken down beyond wear-ability.  They had served me well, and deserved better than a flippant toss into the waste bin.  While I have worked to be more practical (with the expressed interest of not appearing on the television program "Hoarders") it still breaks my heart to think of the time, and love that goes into a handcrafted item like a blanket or doily, only to find it in what is essentially the waste bin of commerce- the second hand shops.  I want to buy all of these forgotten creations, give them homes where they will be appreciated.  Perhaps a Doily Rescue Mission is not anyone's top priority, but at the very least, let us recognize and respect the work that went into making them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Epic Hats

It is that time of year again, time for the Staff Show.  This year I found myself scrambling to come up with something.  Although I have been busy all year crocheting enough to have made a house cozy, I realized that none of it seemed Staff Show worthy.  As I racked my brain trying to come up with something, my Darth Vader bust stared forward in silence, shrouded in a second Gilgamesh hat (the original was given as a gift to my sister).  Sure the Gilgamesh hat was all well and good, but there was something lacking...a yinless yang.

When I was a child my family would vacation in DC.  We frequently found ourselves at the Museum of Natural History where my sister and I would enjoy a little stop motion film in the Ancient Cultures section.  The film was an adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

It made an impact on me, and I assume my sister, who seems to share my brain waves in frequently erie ways.  I was impressed by the idea of the love that grew between these two men and the beauty of a story of transformation that ends with the bitter sorrow of loss.  It spoke volumes of the human condition...which has remained true for as long as we have shared stories. 

The Gilgamesh hat needed a companion, and so the Enkidu hat was created.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

As I lay in bed one morning I thought, "I know, I'll make a Hamlet doll".  I had earlier attempted an Ophelia scarf, which ended up being a crochet fail.  I'm not sure what was missing, or what might have saved Ophelia (so to speak).  The scarf was ultimately dissected and repurposed for other projects.

At any rate, I set about to create Hamlet at the point where he discovers Yorick's skull in the graveyard.  I did not follow a pattern. He stands in my living room, contemplative and melancholy, keeping company with other crocheted sculptures born of my ennui.