Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2013

Von Vorsätzen und Vorstichen am Nähtisch...oder: basics to bliss!

Ein Blick zurück, 
wie rasch sich wieder einmal das Jahr dem Ende neigt, der Kalender Blatt um Blatt ausdünnt und sich der Jahreskreis schließt. 
Zeit der Besinnung mit dem Blick auf das Wesentliche.
Aber was verbirgt sich hinter dem Wesentlichen in unseren Tagen? 
Eine Welt, die immer schneller wird, in der uns immer mehr lästige Arbeit durch Maschinen abgenommen wird, um uns mehr Muße zu gönnen – ein Trugschluß! 
Wer hat schon Zeit oder nimmt sie sich?
Wir bedienen Knöpfe im Haushalt, Hebel in den Werkhallen und preisen die Geschwindigkeit der Maschinen mit ihren identischen und perfekten Produkten: makellos.
Mitunter führt das seltsame Blüten: zunehmend überlässt man Maschinen selbst das Denken und sehnt sich nicht nur nach der faden Perfektion der Produkte, sondern möchte auch den eigenen Körper unter dem chirurgischen Messer der Konformität angleichen lassen.
Perfektion, Makellosigkeit, Geschwindigkeit, die Errungenschaft der Industrialisierung.
Retrospectively 
 we realize how quickly this year came to an end, how the calender gets thinner sheet by sheet and how the year’s seasons come full circle. 
Time for reflection with a sense for the essence.
But what actually is the essence in our hustle’n’bustle times?
A world that gains more and more pace, while machines carry out cumbersome labours to give us more idleness – a fallacy! 
Who has time or takes it’s time today?
We use buttons in our households, levers in the factories while praising the speed of the machines with their identical and always perfect products: flawless.
This has caused odd developments: there’s an increasing tendency to leave thinking and decisions to machines and some do not only strive for the bland perfect products, but desire to alter their own body under the surgeon’s tools into equality and conformity.
Perfection, the state of being flawless, speed, that’s the achievements of industrialisation.

Vielleicht behagt mir gerade aus diesem Grund der Sprung in die Zeit vor der Industrialisierung.
 Eine Zeit, in welcher der Wunsch nach Gleichheit eher dem Streben nach Gerechtigkeit entsprach, nach Emanzipation der Klassen und Geschlechter.
Die Perfektion der gefertigten Produkte lag in dem, was die eigenen Hände und ein wacher Verstand schaffen konnten! 
Einzigartigkeit!
Maybe that is the reason I favour to leap into the period of the pre-industrialisation. 
A time, where the yearning for equality rather referred to the pursuit of justice, the equality of classes and genders.
The perfection of a product, was the result of one’s hands and acuteness of mind! 
Uniqueness!

 (Quelle/source: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

 1795, Roundgown, Italy, Inventory Number(s): AC9124 1994-14-2

1811, Ball gown, British C.I.66.38.1a, b

1800, Woman's Dress, M.2007.211.867
(Quelle/source: LACMA)


 Ist das nicht wirklich beeindruckend?
Nur zwei Werkzeuge 
sind erforderlich, um die kühn erdachten Kleidungsstücke aus einer Bahn Stoff und Garn zu verwirklichen.
Das eine ist buchstäblich ein Glückgriff der Natur: 
unsere Hände
Und das andere ist eines der wunderbarsten Werkzeuge überhaupt -
klein, preiswert und dabei unendlich vielseitig:
eine Nähnadel
Isn't it utterly impressive?
Basically two tools only 
are required, to stitch boldly conceived garments from a yardage of fabric and some thread.
One is a lovely natural gift: 
our hands 
And the other is the most amazing tool ever -
small, usually low priced, yet very versatile: 
a sewing needle
 1801/02, Jens Juel, Regine Sophie Tutein og søn (Detail)
(Quelle/source: Lauritz.com)
Und wenn wir uns dieser beiden wundervollen Werkzeuge besinnen, dann gesellt sich still und leise auch eine weitere verloren geglaubte
Eigenschaft hinzu: 
die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit!
Liebe Leser,
 Legt einmal nur das Bündel der Eile ab und nehmt eine Nadel in die Hand. 
Lasst euch nicht vom modernen Zeitdruck treiben oder davon beeindrucken, welch unglaubliche Mengen eine Nähmaschine bewältigt.
Nehmt den herrlichen Stoff in die Hand, führt die Nadel und lasst 
  euch um Himmels Willen nicht einschüchtern von vermeintlich zu großen oder schiefen Stichen, sondern freut euch über die Einzigartigkeit, 
die ihr schafft!
Die Mühe, die in das entstehende Kleidungsstück fließt, schärft das Auge für einen guten Schnitt, für den passenden Stoff, die stimmige Farbwahl und die Details.
Und auf diese Weise näht ihr nicht nur ein historisches Kleidungsstück nach, sondern taucht auch für einen Augenblick in eine Zeit, in der noch niemand vom gehetzten Takt der Maschinen, konformen Nähten und Massenartikeln ahnte, sondern in der galt: 
‚Mein Kleid ist einmalig!“
And if we realize these two stunning tools, another thought- to-be-dwindled trait magically appears: the discovering of slowness.
Dear readers,
Please, just once put away the bundle of haste and get armed with a sewing needle in your hand. 
Do not feel urged by due dates or be overly impressed about the quantities that a sewing machine could handle. 
Fetch the fabric with your hands, direct the needle through the fibres 
and for heavens sake do not let yourself be intimidated by assumedly too large or otherwise awkward stitches,
 but enjoy creating one of a kind! 
The labour, which runs into the garment, sharpens the senses for a good pattern, a proper fabric, the choice of colours and all the details.
This way you do not simply re-create historical clothes, but delve for a rare moment back into a time, where there was no clue of the clock pulse of machines, identical seams and mass production, but instead: 
‘My dress is utterly unique!”
Wer noch mehr über diesen Ansatz zum historischen Nähen erfahren möchte und noch an einigen Vorsätzen für das kommende Jahr feilt, dem seien zwei interessante, detailreiche und inspirierende Beiträge von lieben Weggefährten ans Herz gelegt:
For those who'd love to learn more about this approach to historical sewing and who are still busy pondering on new year's resolutions, I'd like to direct to the following interesting, detailed and inspiring blogposts from fellow historical seamstresses:
und/and 

Kommentare:

  1. Ah, sadly I know that for me, handsewing is the opposite of bliss. I used to do a lot of embroidery (some on a tiny scale) so I'm not unfamiliar with the tools. It just bores me to tears. It's not soothing or meditative, for me at least.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your point of view.
      I believe that two hundred years ago there also have been women, who weren't fond of hand sewing either (or any other chores). It would be very interesting to see how they would have dealt with it :)

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  2. Sabine, this was well put. Thank you. I am fortunate that hand sewing is a pursuit that makes me very happy. I learned it from both grandmothers and the rest I have learned along the way from friends like you. I do have friends who can't do handsewing due to arthritis or other hand joint issues. I also have friends like Ista who do not have the joy and capacity for hand sewing as you or I do. However, preindustrial pursuits are many and not just sewing, so your words are good for all of us to hear and to take it where we want to go. So, if Ista loves cooking or something else she could take your thoughts and apply it to the hobby that she feels absolute bliss doing. Cheers to you and everyone who reads your blog. Best wishes in the new year to you and yours.

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    1. Thanks a lot. Hand sewing has opened me a very different understanding to our ancestors and their work...and their life, where technology/electricity were simply not available and mostly not even imaginable.
      And it's lovely to see that even in our highly technologized world we still can rely on our hands and a tiny tool :)

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  3. :)
    Ja, ich schätze das nähen per Hand auch sehr!
    Meine Kursteilnehmer bekommen allerdings Panik im Blick, wenn ich sage: "Und das säumen wir jetzt schön per Hand an..."
    Dabei zeigt es sich, dass gerade die kiffeligen Stellen mit Hand ein Klacks sind. Präzise, punktgenau und schön.
    Bei manchen stoße ich auch nach Jahren auf taube Ohren- aber ich freue mich, wenn immer mal wieder jemand sagt- dass er das gerne mit der Hand macht, weil das Teil, an dem sie arbeitet, diese Sorgfalt verdient.

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    1. Vielen lieben Dank für Deinen Kommentar :) Es freut mich zu hören, dass es Gleichgesinnte gibt, welche die 'Entdeckung der Langsamkeit' genießen und sich auf ihre Hände und ein winzig kleines Werkzeug verlassen, in einer Zeit, wo doch immer alles schnell gehen muß und oftmals eher auf Masse denn Klasse gesetzt wird.

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  4. Huch- ich meine natürlich die "kniffeligen" Stellen! :)

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  5. Dear Sabine,
    Well and poetically put.
    Just the other day the radio program Here and Now interviewed fashion designer Nanette Lepore. She opined about the current lack of respect for manual trades, and called for a return to handwork and respect for it. Our hands, she says, are the foundation of innovation, she says, and do I agree!

    What bliss for the hands in gardening, or cooking, or baking, or carving, or carpentry, or metalwork or jewelsmithing, spinning, knitting, lacework, farming, animal-raising, architecture, flowerwork, furniture-making, upholstery, faux bois painting, mural painting, the fine arts, music played with the hands! There is so much out there that we can raise, create, develop, develop, make, conserve!

    Let us praise the two hands and all the bliss they bring,

    Natalie

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    1. Thank you very much. I truly enjoyed your comment.
      We might add letter writing to the list, which is another wonderful task to do with the hands...of course we also use our hands at the keyboard, but taking a pen (or quill) and fill a sheet with the own handwriting is so much more beautiful. I've been told that many children already lack a proper handwriting and that it is generally falling off in quality...

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  6. Thanks Angela, but my bliss is sewing - just with technology just as I'm sure I would have adopted as soon as it was available. As a nerd & geek I take an interest in developing gadgetry & imagine I would be similarly inclined when sewing machines were the new thing. It was an Austrian tailor who presented a working machine in 1814! (development of sewing machines started in the 1790s). My concept of sewing historical clothing is that there is room for all of us whether we rejoice in hand sewing or machine.

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    1. Josef Madersperger (1768 - 1850) developed a machine in 1814, which imitated a sewing hand, but it was not working well and far away from being precise or quick or ready to be reproduced for common use.
      It took nearly another three decades to improve it and change the concept to a machinery, which imitated a weaving process (as it is still today with a linking stitch). Madersperger gave the patent to the Austrian K.K. Polytechnisches Institut in 1839, however the first models were highly expensive and it nearly took another few decades until it started to spread widely and finally found it's way into common households.
      It is important to keep in mind, that in the first half of the 19th century, although inventions have been started and developements were made, no sewing machine - like many other machines (typewriter/camera) - was commonly available.
      Today we are used to a quick developement with new improvements in every season, but back then things simply took much more time to assemble, invent and develope, because people were used to work with their hands and there was no clue on industrialisation, electricity and deriving technologies.

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  7. Personally I prefer doing many things by hand, not just sewing. When whipping cream I'd rather use a hand whisk than an electric one, for example. Part of it is that I like the feel of doing things with my hands, the other part is I dislike too much noise... I suppose that is one reason I like living history: everything is done by hand, and you can't rush them.

    I'm not a complete enemy to technology though: I very much appreciate my washing machine, am happy to put my dishes in the dishwasher, and the vacuum cleaner does a better job than a broom (though I detest the noise it makes). Not to mention the blessings of internet ;)

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  8. Beautiful! It took me a long time to embrace hand sewing, but I love it now! It's so meditative and peaceful.

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    1. Thank you! It took me also a while until I learnt to truly love it and relax...still sometimes it's also a challenge, but I think I've learnt a lot from it :)

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  9. Du hast ganz Recht! There's such an enormous satisfaction in having created something entirely by hand... it's like nothing else.

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    1. Dankeschön! Yes, it gives you a feeling that - no matter what - you can trust your own abilites and rely on your hands. It's all you and not a machine :)

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  10. "Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit" - ein interessantes und wichtiges Thema, auch hier sprichst Du mir wieder aus dem Herzen, liebe Sabine!

    Schöner Neujahrsgruß

    von Constanze

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  11. Das hast du einfach wunderbar gesagt! Und da du uns alle hier immer so toll motivierst, greife ich auch fast immer auf die einfache Nähnadel zurück! Danke! ;)

    Liebe Grüße,
    Kerstin

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