Gift of Spinning at Christmas is often overlooked. Without spinning Jesus,Mary, Joseph, shepherds and kings would all be naked. Apart from hide or felt, I can’t think of a way to make clothing without spinning. Even domesticating animals requires rope – i.e. spun or twisted fibre, for tethering and fencing. Spinning must be the most ancient of skills, like making fire. But spinning mostly goes unnoticed.
These spinning wheels in my studio window will soon be Christmas gifts. I believe the real gift is in the spinning. I have seen a lot of healing take place when people come to spinning; too much for it to be an accident. In learning to spin, it seems as if people often reconnect with themselves or ancestry at some deep level. And in doing so, they find peace and satisfaction; not necessarily a cure, but a healing.
Historically, not much is recorded about spinning and textiles. Yet we are quite accustomed to seeing portraits of kings and queens displaying their wealth and power through their clothing. And stand silent in awe as ancient Egyptian kings are exhumed from their tombs wrapped in cotton spun more finely than any you can buy today in John Lewis. It seems odd that something so integral should get so little attention.
Spinning is timeless. Like Christmas, it is full of mystery, and love, and is a paradox. Kings bring ‘valuable’ gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh, while the work of an unknown spinner preserves the life of a baby as his mother wraps Him in swaddling clothes…