This is Jairus. He’s in first grade. Sometimes he has trouble sitting still and paying attention. Sometimes he gets easily frustrated and has trouble expressing his emotions.
Jai likes to watch his aunt, Guild member Jordan N., spin and crochet. He’s enthralled with the workings of a spinning wheel and sometimes, Auntie Dodie, as he calls her, lets him help her treadle.
After seeing how interested he was in fibre art, Jordan set to thinking about what she could teach Jairus that would:
- Be easy enough for him to learn so as not to get him frustrated.
- Quick to do so he could see a result right away, and;
- Would hold his attention.
Jordan introduced Jairus to kumihimo—a Japanese form of braiding. At first, Jai wasn’t really interested in what Auntie Dodie showed him. He told her it wasn’t what he expected. But once she explained that he could weave a bracelet to give to someone, he perked up. After a brief explanation on how weaving works and a trick of counting through breakfast, lunch and supper instead of just 1, 2, 3, Jairus figured he could try the braid on his own.
He took to it right away and was fully prepared to skip supper in order to finish his little project. Through an evening, to everyone’s amazement, Jai was able to sit still and concentrate. To his own amazement, he was able to create something of his own.
What we do as fibre artists goes far beyond making textiles. Not only do we pass on our craft from generation to generation, but we have a simple tool in our hands that can make a far greater difference than simply clothing someone.
Jairus went home with a bag full of yarn. Mostly pink, because it’s it favourite. And red and purple—because they’re almost like pink. He also went home with a great sense of accomplishment and a new tool to help him cope with some of the intricacies life has thrown at him.