Maine, United States

Meet Emily!
· · · 1 comment

Meet Emily!

· · · 1 comment

Hi there, my name is Emily, and I'm so excited to join the Making team as the Content Creator for the blog! I'll be sewing projects from the issues, writing about them, sharing tips, and creating other Making related posts with the desire to invigorate this space of the Making world. Since I'm new around here, I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about myself and my heart for creativity.

I've been dabbling in creative things since I was young. I remember learning about photography from my dad on an old film camera that I still use sometimes, and always doing crafts or working on projects with my grandma (Nana) when I went to her house. These days my specialty is sewing, which I learned from my grandma as a child. There were sewing projects for 4-H and fashion shows, and we still have a small wall quilt that I made from scraps during those younger years. As I grew older, I lost interest in sewing, and it wasn't until my mid-twenties that I took up the craft again, and my late-twenties is when I fell in love with sewing my clothing and became passionate about handmade things. I discovered that much joy could be found in creating the things I wore and used and that there was a vibrant community of makers who also valued this craft.

Since I learned to sew from my grandma, it's something I am proud to continue in, especially because it's a way I get to connect with her. My grandma has been sewing for over sixty years; I love hearing her stories about the things she made when she was younger, from creating tops out of flour sacks as a girl to a dress she wore in Hawaii on a special vacation, sewing was an essential part of her life. The closer we've gotten through sewing, the more I've wanted to learn about her life back then when she sewed most of her clothing, and the more I learn, the deeper my love for her grows. I feel incredibly blessed to have my grandma in my life and treasure what she shares with me; each story and photo feels like a little jewel. Earlier this year, I started to realize that I needed to record the things she shared, and I set out on a personal project to do just that. I sat with her week after week, we spent hours looking through photos, talking about family and old things and sewing, and she let me write. I was able to record her stories related to sewing and attach them to vintage photos where she is wearing things she made. This project feels like one of the most important of my life, and I hope that through it, she is honored. If you're interested in following along, the posts are being published once a month on my personal blog in a series titled, What Nana Made.

For me, sewing is art. I participate in the craft as an expression of heart, and as a way to connect to the beauty and depth of this life. Sewing is an old craft, and though it might have functioned somewhat differently during a time separate from my own, such as my grandma's younger years, I think it has always been something that empowers the maker, and I love this about it, and that this is found within all the crafts of the hands. Not only does sewing empower me, but it also allows me to express myself. Last year during the creation of one of my proudest makes, a patchwork dress that took something like thirty hours to create, I learned that within everything I make, a piece of me is woven into its fibers, and a piece of that things is also woven into me. My spirit becomes tangible, and during that process, I am changed. This, I think, is one of the most valuable things about creating.

Additionally, sewing helps to heal me, and I didn't realize this until very recently with another one of my favorite makes, a plaid flannel jacket. I had tried my best to make it turn out perfectly, but it didn't, and I had to learn how to be OK with that, I wasn't at first. So much of what I face while sewing is also the struggles I face in my own life, such as perfectionism and insecurity. But when I hold a real-life item in my hands, something I spent hours dreaming up and creating, it's a lot more difficult to be unhappy with myself for the flaws in that thing than it is to be proud I made it in the first place. This is how sewing heals me and helps me to become a more whole being.

For me, making things is more than merely about what's created in the end, but also what I learn about myself and life during the making hours, and how those hours change me. Making helps to slow me down and ground me, it helps me to remember the important things of life-beauty, love, community, family, nature, that imperfection is a gift and beauty is essential to the human spirit, I will always be grateful to it for that. And I will always be grateful to my grandma for passing on the gift of sewing to me, for modeling a heart of compassion and love of art, and for always inspiring and believing in me.

I fell in love with Making for its beautiful projects, infusion of nature, and a sense of depth when it comes to the crafts of hands. I feel honored to have this opportunity to contribute and hope to help build up this online space as a place for inspiration, education, and connection. Thank you for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. - Emily