Retail giant takes on refugee crafters

The Swedish company IKEA is planning to sell rugs made by Syrian refugees in 2019:

IKEA to sell rugs made by Syrian refugees in 2019

What a great way to help people who need work and a sense of purpose during a time of terrible upheaval and suffering.

Wouldn’t it be great if more companies took on crafters and artists, rather than depending on mass production, to help them make a living doing what they love?

Will AI take over crafting?

Electronics has moved into the crafting world. Check out this article from Make: 

Check Out the Behemoth: An Oversized Robot that Makes Nerdy Quilts

A computer that makes quilts.

Actually, it’s not as astounding as it sounds. Crafters have taken advantage of electronics and computer software programs for a while. That’s how we get laser cut wood, machine embroidery, dobby looms, sock knitters, etc. It’s just that as the development of artificial intelligence (AI) increases, the question we need to ask is how much do we want AI and robots to take over crafting?

8c19a8e83d7eb79b94af9c902d6170b6
from Pinterest

At present, this robot that makes quilts still needs a human element, but that could change. There is evidence that drones equipped with artificial intelligence have worked autonomously, or independently. What if that happened in crafting? In the future, you could be using a computerized sock knitter.  Before you go to bed, you turn it off and then the next morning awake to realize that the knitter has turned itself back on during the night and has created more socks in a much more intricate pattern than you were making previously. If it had an extra arm, it might even order more yarn on your credit card because you inadvertently left your phone charging nearby. You find that your credit card is maxed out and Knit Picks is calling to see if there is anything else you’d like to order because you are now their very best customer!

While this may sound silly, within techie society there is serious talk of the Singularity, a time when machines become more intelligent than humans. This will completely transform our society and, as you can imagine, we may not be able to master it.

Hollywood has taken this subject and gone wild with it. Think of movies like Terminator and I, Robot.  The X Files had an episode about a computer that began killing people in order to protect itself. What if one day you went to work on your loom in the future and the loom threw a shuttle at you to keep you from disturbing its work?

Computers are certainly capable of making beautiful designs much faster and more intricately than our own capabilities allow. Are we willing to give into the temptation to allow them to make everything for us because we feel that our own creativity  and abilities are not enough?  In the future will we sit around like the blob humans in Pixar’s            Wall-E allowing robots to do everything?

It’s certainly something to consider. Or perhaps I should ask Siri what to do?

 

Snowflakes

pinecones1

It snowed this weekend. In Colorado mountains, snow is a common winter time experience, but here on the High Plains where the weather can be unpredictable, we don’t take the moisture for granted.

I love snow. People think I’m crazy, but there is nothing more beautiful than watching it fall, from the window of my cozy house. It looks beautiful as it gathers on branches and fence posts. It is also amazingly quiet when it snows. Have you ever listened to the silence? There is something calming about it, almost ethereal.

Do you believe that the presence of God can be found anywhere? In Romans 1, Paul writes:  “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.”  In other words, the attributes and presence of God are demonstrated throughout creation. God indwells creation so that it speaks to humanity about his wonder and salvation.

That fact makes for some interesting introspection. What can a tree tell me about God? What can the snow tell me about God? What does my dog say about his creator?

As I lay in bed Sunday morning, listening to the silence of the snowfall, I thought about how snow whispers to me about my Creator. My mind drifted from the silence being similar to God’s still small voice on down to the minute snowflake. Through a microscope, the snowflake is a wonder. No two are alike. All are intricately created as if the angels sat around in heaven cutting them from ice crystals. In the big picture, snowfall transfigures the landscape, making it something beautiful. Snowflakes resemble human beings. They have a common Creator who made no two alike. We are all intricately created with great care. If we all worked together, we could transform this world into something beautiful. Yet, oftentimes, we think that to work together we all have to think, believe and behave the same way. That is impossible!

In his daily post, Father Richard Rohr stated that “spiritual unity is diversity loved and overcome, never mere uniformity.” We can still be unified despite our differences. We can compromise, accept and love each other for who we are and make something beautiful. To do this we will have to give up selfishness and our own feelings of self-importance. However, we do not have to give up the very essence of ourselves; nor do others have to give up what makes them who they are. To require this, to force everyone to be carbon copies of one another, goes against the grain of our Creator and the way God does things.

Just ask the snowflake.

“…Spiritual unity is diversity loved and overcome, never mere uniformity.”

                                                                        – Richard Rohr

Dyeing Silk

I spent the weekend dyeing silk for my shop Pen and Hook. It’s not available yet, but it will be very soon. Meanwhile, my hubby was playing with his video camera and invaded entered my work space. Despite my protests due to the fact that I was in work mode,  he came up with this video about dyeing sari silk. Hope you enjoy it.