Made by Hand and Music for Monday

My favourite things…

This is going to be a long and meandering thought journey, I can feel it coming on! Follow if you will!
All the things in this picture are hand made, except perhaps the knife, and even that is vintage. I use these things, and others like them, every day and I want to tell you what it is about them that makes them enrich my life and why I love them and feel that hand made is important.
In the photo is a collection of rather humble things that I snapped one morning, just because I liked the light and the random composition, as I was sitting down to breakfast. The table was my great Grandmother’s, the knife my Grandmothers, the mug was one I bought new from a local potter and the rush mats I made my self some years ago with rushes I gathered from a lovely lochan that I lived near. The plate and pot I found on one of my regular hunts through a charity shop, a surprisingly good hunting ground for hand made.
What made me suddenly want to write about them was (prosaically) making a cup of herb tea – as I reached out and took down my lovely mug, a sudden jolt of delight went through me at the shape and texture of it in my hand, a small reminder from my senses of just how much joy it gives me to use this perfect (to me) mug. Why? Just why does the shape of this mug please my hands so? Is it because someone else made it with loving careful hands and joy in the making? I can picture to myself the meditative concentration of Brian the potter as his big hands flowed the clay from unresponsive inert lump into graceful and somehow living form. He has a very grounded and peaceful way of being and that is somehow embodied in his pottery. I never usually think about who made this mug, so that is only a tiny facet of the joy it gives me.
If I think about my great Granny’s table it’s a very different story – I have no idea who made it, not a clue! It’s a wonky old thing, there are cracks in the top, scars all over, the top even comes right off if you try to lift the table up; but I love it. It has been scrubbed so often that the grain of the wood is weathered into ribs and the knots are polished shiny smooth. I think it’s the years of continuity and history that make me love this table – there is something special in knowing that my Mum sat here as a child visiting her grandma, and my Grandmother before her grew up eating every meal at it. I too was pulled up to this table in my high chair when I was little, and perhaps, if I am lucky, my own daughter will sit at it one day…

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I think it’s time to stop rambling on now so I will leave you with a little hand made music from the wonderful Dougie MacLean.

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