Last week, my local fiber guild sent an email about an estate sale of a member who had recently passed away. Her family was offering an early sale for any guild member who wanted to purchase some of the woman's bountiful collection. I did not know the member, and it felt a little weird- the idea of going through her things and buying her tools. However, it was wonderful that the guild was given the opportunity to make sure her things stayed in the community and went to loving fiber oriented hands. So, I guess I am trying to say I was conflicted.
I decided I would go, not rush out in the first wave of early access but see what was available after perhaps people closer to her had an opportunity to bring pieces home. The woman lived alone, her daughter had traveled in to take care of her local affairs. However, her house was clearly a wonderful, warm workspace of creation. Every room was a beautiful little personal studio. All of her spinning wheels had already gone, but her floor loom remained. There was a project still sitting, patiently waiting to be finished. I touched the cloth and was nearly overwhelmed by emotion for this woman I had never met.
We are all going to be in the middle of something when we die.
She was clearly in the middle of a charming twill hand towel. It will likely never be finished. I am in the market for a floor loom, but that particular loom was not for me. I really wish it had been. I would have finished her towel.
As a maker, it really struck home. What is it that we leave behind? Tools, certainly. We can't take those with us. Supplies, for sure. Hopefully we leave more, though. A legacy of knowledge, a piece of community, a continuation of history perhaps? That way, even when we go and still have projects unfinished, our work will live on in new hands. I hope all of this woman's things went to good homes and that they will continue to be used in creating countless more pieces of art. In that way, it won't matter that the twill towel was never finished, it didn't need to be.