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Day 17: Handmade

When I first started to learn silversmithing, I realized that working with my hands produced a different effect on me. Different from my day job, which requires intellectual work. When you work with metal to make jewelry you use other parts of your brain. The friend who had the silversmithing studio continues to sell all sorts of supplies through her shop, Metal Designz. She was telling me, a couple of days ago, that they were getting many orders of jump rings because people are at home and have more time to do crafts.

I too have found that, not having to follow our regular routine, freed many hours of the day. Moreover, I'm less tired and more creative, even if that creativity is directed to a more dedicated meal production. Instead of rushing meal preparation, I feel I can take some more time over it. Sometimes it's not even the preparation time, but the cooking time that takes longer. It is not that I spend hours involved in the production of beef bourguignon, but rather than I can spend a few more minutes planning and cooking. When I think about it, I see that cooking has become a way of taking a break. In this isolation, the tactile aspect of chopping various vegetables gives me pleasure. Something similar can be said about producing a perfect chiffonade, brunoise, or fine julienne. On a regular day, I don't have the time that would match my skill or lack-there-of. The lockdown is a time to practice the knife skills I often neglect. I welcome that.

The tactile gratification can also come from working with dough. Today, folding a sourdough, I felt more relaxed, as if the contact grounded me. Perhaps this is why yeast is sold out everywhere. Others must feel the same need to occupy themselves with tasks which we cannot regularly undertake.

Besides more time for cooking, I also find more time for drawing or working on my linocut design. I have two separate projects going on and, although I lack the live models we had in art class, I'm happy to work on the basic skills to improve my human figures. Tessa has also been spending more time on her creative pursuits and she has produced a fantastic self-portrait that took my breath away. There is no doubt that she's very talented.

At 4:30, I stop work to listen to audiobooks, keeping my hands occupied with yarns and needles. Knitting has a similar effect to silversmithing but, because it's quiet, it allows me to enjoy the recorded voices of other adults reading to me. Like working with dough, there is a significant tactile component to knitting. I have three projects going which I alternate, depending on my mood. If I' had a hard day, I work on a teal and purple shawl, the Lotus colourway of Malabrigo Rios. The yarn is thick Merino wool and the herringbone stitch is simple enough I wan do it in the darkness, even when I'm tired.

If I need a more sensual experience, I have a bright emerald scarf I'm knitting with pure silk. This silk is hand dyed in Germany and can be purchased in Etsy from two women who use the most evocative, poetic names for their colours. The emerald green is called Absinthe.

How could one not want to knit with it. How could one be happy with only that one colour. I certainly couldn't and, since I found a wonderful pattern for an elegant men's scarf, I could not resist a variagated muted bluish-green grey fingering yarn in Merino wool and silk called "Rain in a Graveyard" which I'm combining with a dark blue baby alpaca and silk lace yarn named "A Dark Storm is Coming." I work on this project when I'm feeling down because the yarns' texture lifts my mood as if someone had cast a spell on it.

During these stressful times, working with my hands soothes and distracts me. And I'm grateful I decided to learn these things before the zombie apocalypse. This is no apocalypse yet, but it has an uncanny resemblance to the dystopian novels and films I have favoured for years.

11:20 pm:

Canada cases 9731

Deaths 112

Recoveries 1526 (yesterday I wrote 1592, today we have fewer recoveries. Did I make a mistake?)

World cases 937,567

World deaths 47,256

World recoveries 194,311


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