I was raised in a home that attached value to handmade goods. Art and crafts were things to be cherished and cared for. They added something special to any room, celebration, or occasion. My mom always showed respect towards handmade goods and the makers behind them. She taught us to see the quality in art and crafts and to look for pieces that evoke feeling.
My mom used pieces of art to showcase the transition from one season to the next. This rotating art exhibition took place in the living room—her gallery. This was a space where she could express herself emotionally, aesthetically, and create family memories.
Christmas was no exception. Down came the painting with the fall leaves, and up went a winter scene complete with ice-skating, a snowman, and a little house in the background glowing from the warm fire within. These were by no means high-end pieces of art. They were simply lovely painted scenes that my mom was drawn to.
I come from a family of five kids. The living room was the only clutter-free zone in the house. It was always clean, there were fancy couches that never had the chance to sag, and all of my mom’s treasured possessions were on display and safe from swinging limbs. We were never told to keep out. But, as kids, we had a sort of reverence towards this room.
The paintings set the tone of the room. It was exciting to watch my dad help hang the holiday painting. We knew Christmas was coming. My mom’s holiday art added something special to the Christmas season. These pieces were valued and cherished in a different way than the pipe cleaner ornaments and paper Christmas trees that decorated the TV room.The Christmas paintings were the backdrop for so many holiday memories and experiences.
My childhood memories are filled with art and crafts. Creating was a Christmas tradition and a big part of our celebrations. My mom is a fairly quiet and reserved person. She is also very crafty. Crafts connect her with people and help foster relationships. This was true in her role as mom, as well.
Whether it was creating beaded candy canes or marshmallow Christmas balls, sitting down at the kitchen table and getting crafty was her way of gathering us together and expressing affection.
My mom is a skilled knitter, sewer, and quilter. Her handmade pieces are scattered throughout the house. I feel coziness when I think about the embroidered Christmas table runner that adorned the coffee table, the crochet snowflakes on the windows, and the handmade stockings that hung from the mantel. These things are familiar and they make me happy.
Now that I am a mom, the love and effort my mom put into making handmade pieces is so evident to me. Crafts were an expression of her love. They were her way of making our house a home.
I’m sure there were store-bought Christmas decorations in my childhood home, but I can’t recall any. The warm, fuzzy memories are triggered by the beautiful pieces created with knitting needles, a sewing machine, a glue gun, ribbons, and whatever else filled the the craft closet.
Gift-giving among my family reflects our upbringing. We only exchange handmade items that are locally made. There is something special about sharing where a gift was purchased, the artist you are supporting, and the passion that went into it.
I am proud of my work with the Arts Council of New Westminster as coordinator of New West Craft. It feels great to provide local crafters and artisans an opportunity to showcase their work to the community. Thanks to my mom, I truly value their work and the passion and love that goes into their creations.
I encourage you to change how you shop this holiday season. Why not skip the shopping mall and focus on shopping small instead?
The New West Craft Christmas Night Market on Saturday, December 3 is a great place to start. Join us at River Market from 6:00pm to 9:30pm and visit with over 40 local vendors selling handmade goods.
To learn more visit: www.bit.ly/NewWestCraft2016