March 13, 2012 - Being in the Physical World
Ok, first a confession and some context... I watched a TV with 3 channels encased in a huge wooden cabinet as a child. I thought computers would never catch on, the first time someone in my creative writing class at university brought his story printed in barely readable dotty letters on perforated paper. I never want to read a book on a Kindle-thingy. I only tolerate my computer screen because it's gigantic. I like the real world - the one I can experience with every one of my senses. I never even understood Stairmasters; I thought, unless you live in a bungalow, why not just find some actual stairs (ideally outdoors) and climb them? Of course, the simulation craze has gone way beyond Stairmasters now, with tennis, bowling, guitar playing, painting and virtually every other activity known to humanity replicated on screens of every size, around every corner. Oh, woe is me!
Even at the conference I attended last weekend, entitled Craft and the New Economy, there was a huge emphasis on technology, such as the digitization of patterns and designs that can produce gloriously complicated fabrics or ceramics. It's all very impressive, and no doubt exciting if that's what you're into. But for me, the point of craft is to manipulate the materials I'm working with, not to manipulate images on yet another screen. Basically, if I don't end up with something on my shirt - paint, threads, fluff - I don't want to do it.
My kids are grown, so I don't even know how little kids spend their time. For sure some of them are getting messy making quirky, lopsided objects of their own design. But I still fear the extinction of the scribble. Perhaps I have a paranoid perception that all this virtual living will make kids colour within the lines (literally and metaphorically speaking). If there is one thing my mother taught me, (much to my initial dismay when she got her hands on my colouring books), it was never to colour within the lines.