January 19, 2012

tara h.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                        tara h. and the tools of her trade

There is a history of farming on the paternal side of my family.  While I have never milked a cow before dawn or ridden a tractor into the glow of a setting sun there is another feeling which I have experienced.  Each time I'm on a farm, I feel a soulful, intuitive tug.  It's a melancholy sort of feeling.  It doesn't matter whose farm it is, or what they're growing or tending to: I just end up with this slightly sad longing in my chest: my gut.  This feeling comes from my blood, from a part of my own past which existed long before I did, from people who lived and died before I was even born, but whose hopes and aspirations are somehow in me.

A similar feeling must launch seamstress, Tara H, into her Blue Ash sewing studio each morning.  To hear Tara tell it, she has generations of her family articulating through her fingertips, and they won't stop.

photo by steve metz                     vintage machine
"My great-grandmother taught me how to sew with a needle and thread when I was six," she tells me in her studio space.   I imagine two sets of hands.  One belongs to young Tara.  They are smooth, nimble, and eager to work, but they're callow, untried.  The other, her great-grandmother's, are practiced, assured, and confident, but they are nearly ready to rest.  So, now, the young girl watches, listens, and mimics.  Connections form in the girl's body chemistry, emanating to her psyche, like links in a chain, falling into place: like a perfect row of stitches.  The switches have been flipped and soon the girl will feel compelled to do that which her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother did before her.  She will not even remember not knowing how to do this.

When this child becomes an adult, she will feel so driven to create, in this vein of heritage, that she will name her products, Robot Inside.  The quirky owls and the lovable monsters, which she imagines and then stitches into existence, will be born of an internal mechanism which is always running and which will outlast even the most industrial sewing machine.  It's the gift of lineage, a DNA imprint, a natural selection into a  creative passion.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                      tara h., owls a-danglin'
In writing this piece, I thought a lot about choices and about freewill.  Does Tara have a say in the matter?  Is she free to not design and create these visual delights, or is she just hard wired to do it.  Am I sitting here, right now, writing this blog, simply because I am my grandfather's grandson?  In the end, if we're able to eke out a modicum of happiness in this upside down world of ours, does it really matter?  When we're doing that which we're meant to do we've achieved meditation.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                                 owl, hooot hooot
I imagine that someday, hopefully many decades from now, Tara will be sitting next to another child, and it will be her hands that are ready to rest.  She'll be imparting her craft to the child in much the same simply flipping a switch which already exists in the small one.  A tiny new robot roars to life.  That's really how we make a mark on this world, isn't it: by letting our talents, our trades, our arts, and our passions live on through the ones we love.

Tara received this gift once, and I'm sure she'll give it back too.  For that, and for the lovely things she makes with her hands, I'm very happy that she's a citizen of Porkopolis.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                          owl too, hooot hooot
Tara is teaching a sewing class at the Blue Ash Public library.  Click here for information.

Tara's going to have a booth at Arnold's, downtown.  Click here for information.

Tara's Etsy store, where you can purchase lovely things:

1 comment:

  1. lovely read. and photos. thanks for sharing this.