One of the most common questions I'm asked when folks find out about my passion for all things old fashioned and seemingly antiquated is WHY? Why should we sew our own clothes, can our own foods, crochet our own blankets while we can just go down to the store and buy what we need?" My answer is always the same; too many answers to give! So let me break down the reasons for re-embracing some of these skills.
First and foremost, I believe that there's a balance between old and new, as there should be. There are so many skills that are considered 'heritage' skills that will die out in the next generation or two, unless we embrace them and preserve them. These heritage skills are so very important because they allow us to bridge the gap between past and present. These days, with modern manufacturing and steady supply lines buying nearly anything has become easier than ever so of course it's understandable that people might want to simply resort to that and spend their time doing other things, especially since we all have far more chaotic lives these days. But there is something wonderful to be said about slowing down enough to create something beautiful, or nutritious and rewarding, just as previous generations did for their families. And there's something so very rewarding about being able to preserve these techniques and share them with the next generation. It would be such a shame to loose these skills to the ravages of time and convenience. One of my fondest memories is sitting with my parents in front of the television, usually watching Star Trek or some other show we all enjoyed, and crafting together. My father did leather work... he hand tooled things like belts, purses and holsters. My mother would crochet. She still crochets like a fiend, though arthritis has slowed her hooks just a bit. And as for me, I was a kid. I did whatever craft I fancied at that moment. Over the years, I tried my hand at embroidery, cross stitch, crochet (which I'm just terrible at, sadly!) painting t-shirts, doing leather craft with my dad, sewing and many other skills. While I haven't kept up on most of them, having even a rudimentary base knowledge of those things has been invaluable for me picking up the crafts I now love as an adult.
The second thing I always cite is that many of us have forgotten the value in feeling accomplished, in being able to look at a beautiful blanket or eat a jar of jam that we put our time and effort into creating. That feeling of accomplishment is sadly absent in so many aspects of our day to day lives. No one hands out academy awards for cooking dinner well, or championship rings for a nice deep clean on your house. But speaking strictly for myself, when I pop open a jar of golden, lovely marmalade for a friend or when I create something for myself that is exactly as I wanted it, and not a pale store bought imitation of my vision, it's a reward in and of itself.
And the final point I'll make may be a bit controversial to you, but this is just my two cents. After all, that's sort of the point of a blog, isn't it? So here it is. In this day and age, our supply system can be shaky at best. We've seen recall after recall when it comes to foods, particularly fresh or processed foods. We see product recalls constantly because things are ill-made or have dangerous materials in them. I have to admit that particularly when it comes to canning my own food, I feel infinitely better looking at my pantry shelves and knowing that the food I've canned will have no recalls. That I have definitive proof of whether or not it's good in the form of a lid pop, and that there is nothing in there that I wouldn't want to eat, since I put it all in myself.