Learning from Women of Yesteryear: Making Products of Yesteryear

I write about my women ancestors – everyday women such as my Irish great-great Harriet Susannah Ellis, 1863 – 1939 .

In addition to writing about women of yesteryear, it occurred to me several years ago that too many city dwellers have lost the self-reliance of our fore-mothers. Therefore, I became what I call a “city dweller learning country skills.”

In becoming a “city dweller learning country skills,” I have had time to reflect that we’ve been losing something as we’ve over-commercialized the products we buy:

  • Losing a broad knowledge of how to make products ourselves – from growing food, making our own clothing and housewares, to being familiar with life’s natural rhythms.
  • Losing a sense of community that we often now have to seek more intentionally – that once came more readily through buying ans selling at farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and the like.
  • With a never-ending array of commercial product options available, we often buy the cookie-cutter duplicate styles of products that are available on retail shelves….rather than then the individualized products with local character and often sustainably (i.e., locally) produced nature that used to be more available.
  • Too often, products are not as healthy as they used to be.

We can change this by learning to make the items of yesteryear. One of the things I’ve made in the last couple years – in the process of being a “city dweller learning country skills” – is homespun braided rugs. I made this rug – fashioned after rugs I encountered at a country cabin – and am quite pleased to have it.

Learn more about Kim Burkhardt’s writing and our Women of Yesteryear books here.


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