Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deft Movements

This is an entry I wrote weeks ago, while I was in Mexico, but didn’t have the opportunity to post until now:

I’m sitting on top of my parents house in Mexico, looking out over the lagoon where several dump trucks and other big machines are tearing up part of the lagoon to make a walkway. One roof over a little boy of about 6 is sitting on a bucket watching the work – he seems to be there most of the time, completely absorbed. Yesterday a friend came up and sat and watched with him for a little while.
I’ve been watching the bricklayers who are reconstructing a wall, thinking about movement. The motions of their work are so precise and efficient, the way they apply the mortar, scrape the excess off, and reapply it. There is a point when the execution of common tasks becomes graceful with the sureness and ---it’s not automatic, -- maybe an unconscious confidence in the way things are best done. I love this. Watching the deft movements of anyone at work is a pleasure to me, as is developing them myself. At NC Inc, there are a couple people with a kind of unconscious grace in specific movements that’s so beautiful to me. I was watching Isabella cut out a pattern a few days ago – cutting that has to be perfect to the 16th? 32nd? of an inch – with no rough spots and no nicks. She was slicing along with a nonchalance at a speed that at first startled me, until I realized how effortless it was to her. And when Nicholas comes to check my draping, he has a way of unpinning and repinning that is so quick, but so precise in how it lets the fabric fall in the way that it should.
Most of the time, I feel incredibly awkward in my movements at work, but the other day I got to sew up a sample – one of our sample sewers was on vacation for a bit, and the sewing was piling up. Sitting down at the sewing machine felt so good, a big burly machine, in need of a little love, somewhere between the Phaff monstrosities at Beckel Canvas and the fancy fancy Jukis at Queen Bee. It felt good, all the little motions I’ve done so many times, taking out the bobbin, reloading it, changing thread colors, testing the tension, adjusting the bobbin casing. It was a little boost of confidence in a sea of still uncertain techniques and processes.

1 comment:

Carly said...

I love your writing Hannah. I love listening to you talk about sewing and your time there. It makes me miss you something awful. I can't believe your new place. It must cost a fortune.
love ya.