I do a LOT of reading. When I want to learn about something I head to the library. This is something I didn’t start doing until I was older. In high school reading a book wasn’t something I readily enjoyed. But, now in my 50’s, it is something I relish! I read books about farming (soil, vegetables), livestock (especially sheep), knitting, spinning, cooking, basically if I have thought or question needing an answer I either head to the library or the internet.
Recently I was invited to demonstrate spinning for the Daughters of the Revolution. Again, I headed to the library and internet to research spinning and women’s contributions to the American Revolution. In my historical research I started seeing a pattern! Colonial Americans had a dependency on England for their goods. After the Wool Tax Act of 1699 women started spinning and making their own cloth in earnest as a protest. Later in the 20th century during the British occupation of India, Ghandi started using spinning and making clothe as a non-violent protest urging Indians to become self-reliant. This started a revolution and eventually India gained independence from Britian. I recently read a piece on the internet about Charka Wheels for spinning cotton. A university in New Delhi is offering students a spinning certification course emphasizing self-reliance, but more importantly to teach patience. When I teach spinning, frequently you will hear me say “just breathe!”. Spinning has taught me to slow down, to be calm. Sitting still has never been something I’ve been comfortable with. But, at the spinning wheel I have found I can go for long periods of time without thought of the day, or the matters of the world. However, if I forget to pay attention to my breathing or let my mind wander down a path away from the fiber, I start having problems with the yarn and get frustrated.
I’ve always enjoyed the home arts; canning, sewing, gardening, etc. I’ve also dreamt of being self-reliant in what feels like a dependent world. I’d like to think that I’m creating my own silent revolution. I can’t completely stop going to the store for groceries or clothes right now, but I certainly can by mindful of what I buy, where it came from, who made it, how does it affect the planet or people who brought it to that store, and continue reach for that goal of self-reliance.