Tatting for one, for sure. But before I took up tatting, I had another favourite. Well, I still love it, but I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons so I had to take a break from it. Maybe I’ll scribble about that some other time, but for now, let me touch a little bit on the thing itself.
It was a form of traditional arts in my country of origin. Being brought up abroad, I had always been interested in learning the traditions of my culture, but there were so many to choose from. I chose this one because I felt there was nothing quite like it in at least two ways.
One, I believe the art form is fairly unique to my homeland – I have yet to see anything similar in any other country. I am still amazed at my ancestors’ decision to take a simple everyday act in life and turn it into an art. And two, it is like a little show or a spectacle put on in a small room – you get to see bits and pieces of many other forms of traditional arts coming together in one place, feel the thoughts and care that go in to selecting these bits and pieces for the occasion, and appreciate the intricacies that lie within the simplicities of the act.
In short, I fell for the pretty look and the fact that I was getting more than I paid for… how shallow of me! Imagine the misery I went through after finding out that beauty and value do not just pop out of nowhere. I am just so grateful my teacher was a very patient person, or else I would never have stuck with it and get to know my roots and myself better.
So what has kept me in love with it, after three and a half years of dreary weary lessons and almost a year of hiatus?
Maybe because it is a street that connects my past to present to future.
Maybe because it is a path to making sense of myself.
Maybe because it is a road to self-discovery.
No wonder all the art forms have in their names the character meaning “the way” in my mother tongue. Now, if only I could find my way back to it…