Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hand By Hand

Today, more than ever, the crafts have the mission
to reconnect the human being to the Earth and her substances,
bring healing to the senses and soul, and foster
the creative capacities of the human being.
~ Renate Hiller

Renate Hiller is co-director of Fiber Craft Studio, Chestnut Ridge, New York, and co-founder of the Sunbridge College Applied Arts Program. In addition to serving the college's students, Hiller's Fiber Craft Studio offers to the public workshops and courses in, for example, plant-dyeing, felting, and knitting. Its applied arts program explores the art, philosophy, practice, and pedagogy of teaching handwork and brings students and teachers together to foster artistic development while also encouraging spiritual development. The collaborative approach to teaching and practice is inspired by the insights and teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who established what is known as Waldorf Education for children through grade 12.

Our destiny is written in the hand.

In the video below, "On Handwork", Hiller speaks eloquently, even reverentially, about the importance and spiritual benefits of practicing hand-work — hand-spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting, and sewing. She describes how hand-creating functional art, using natural materials such as wool and silk and yarns whose colors are derived from plant dyes, focuses concentration, promotes mindfulness and contemplation, and increases "understanding of the value of things, of the meaning of things"; it becomes, she asserts, transformative.

Hiller's is a terrific, inspirational talk. Enjoy!

Renate Hiller "On Handwork" from Chuck Smith on Vimeo.

Fiber Craft Studio features unique clothing and accessories designed and hand-made by Hiller and Mikae Toma, FCS co-director; it also offers kits for knitting, crocheting, and felting, as well as plant-dyed materials. All of the items are available for purchase onsite; an online store is planned.


Transcript of Video (Thank you to Speaking of Faith for "A World Through the Hands" that includes the video's transcript.)


Amy Sorrells said...

I knew there was a reason I'm getting the itch to knit again! Great post, and I agree!

L.L. Barkat said...

There is something about working with our hands. Yes. I do feel that instinctively.

Anonymous said...

spend quite some time in quilt centerd fabric store a couple of days ago. the girls were drooling over the embrodiery thread.

Brian Miller said...

i think there is something spiritual in any act of creation...calling us back to the beginning but i enjoyed this...