Sunday, 2 November 2014

ICA and modern Ireland

Now in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that my mum had issues with the local chapter of this group, something to do with them not respecting her training as a domestic science teacher, I have no idea what the truth of the story was and I have I'm not going to really comment, but there was no real friendliness for them in my household but I thought, a few years ago that it could be something for me to join, I mean I'm a multi-crafter, maybe it would be somewhere that I could find likeminded people.

So I went to the desk at the Knitting & Stitching show, and was ignored, people talked around me.  Now I'm actually a pretty shy person and I find it hard to approach new people, I do a good job sometimes of pretending to be a confident outgoing person, but that takes a lot of effort and, to be honest, I found the women there intimidating.  I mean, I often wonder how good I am really at many of these things, I know I have only scraped the top of many of the crafts I do, and I'm always looking to try new skills, to try something different.

On Friday the Late Late Show had three older knitters racing against the show to produce three items during the production.  There were lots of comments from a lot of people about granny knitting, it's a problem many of us in the discipline have, people don't see younger knitters so they don't think that younger people knit, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Looking at some of the crafts I'm impressed at them, others I'm underwhelmed.  I picked up their new book in work, which wasn't mentioned by the way on the Late Late Show, it was their tea book The Irish Countrywomen's Association Book of Tea and Company: Recipes and Reflections for Every Daythat  was mentioned

I hadn't really looked at the book before last night. I wasn't really paying attention to it, it was part of a pile of books that I have to deal with a bundle I've been ignoring for the last few months, trying to do too much again.  Plus my life has been a bit overwhelming recently.  Yesterday I opened it and looked at it, and to be honest I was underwhelmed.  There were a few that piqued my interest, and I was vastly entertained that the first project was designed by someone whose daughter went to school with me.  And it's important than many of the skills that people of that age have are passed on.  



Maybe what it needs is a better and more open pricing structure.  A site like Craftsy to pass on the skills and an interaction with something like Ravelry, where many of the younger crafters gather, creating a virtual meeting group might help too.  Change is going to be needed if the ICA is going to stay relevant into the future, they have done so much good in the past with water and electricity to rural Ireland, to stay relevant they have to carve out spaces that modern Irish women will use.

They should also be campaigning for domestic science classes in primary and secondary schools, cookery and basic mending etc., skills both boys and girls should have, and basic cleaning skills.  Maybe even some courses in conjunction with marriage courses in how to share domestic chores, particularly in this day and age of dual income houses.  Skills badly needed these days.  They should be leading campaigns for equality, these days they appear to have settled into the regular run of things rather than rocking the boat and maybe they need to go back to being a bit less part of the mainstream and a little more questioning.

And we seriously need more acceptance of other ages of knitters.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I've been watching the ICA documentaries and it's hugely interesting how feminist they were in ways ie with getting running water for farm women whereas when it came to things like contraception, they really stood back.
    I've just enquired about joining the ICA - partly as research! It took a while to get that far in terms of phoning An Grianan, the woman over the county getting in contact and now I'm going to go to two and see if I want to join either of them.
    The image is always of those who bake and craft rather than are feminist though. The recent ICA programmes where young girls were trained in various tasks was purely for entertainment though.
    Yes, I'd imagine there's lots of politics in some of the guilds.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with the two branches, hope you find a good space with them.

      It will be interesting to see how they adapt and evolve, if they do.

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