If asked about the “why” - or the joy - behind Cornelia Lively, there would be more than one. Most of all, my family and I have an equally shared love of handmade goods. The feel, the look, the spirit of the work that is rendered by hand, all makes for a treasure. And, no surprise, mindless consumption and mass production are not our thing. Well, to be honest, we are pretty much “violently opposed,” - a funny term of my grandmother’s who never did anything violent in her entire life. She would agree, as do we, that affordability is an absolute necessity, especially today. But unless we want our children and their children forever absorbed in environmental challenges of overflowing landfills and polluted streams and rivers, we need to join the movement to produce clothing and accessories responsibly.
But let’s get back to the WHY. Really, we can summarize our why in two words: the artisans. People. The minds, beating hearts, hopes and visions, disappointments and challenges, and sheer, raw talent behind every piece we make - that is our why. Sitting down with the artisans who actually melt the silver, cut from a sheet of metal, or thread the impossibly massive loom ... they are the ones we want to hear from. Will our designs work? Will the designs honor the process itself? What do you think would work best? Look best? That’s the beauty - our endless collaboration. That’s the why.
And the good news? We are just getting going. Our team, despite Covid, despite delays and lack of needed materials, is as devoted as ever to their craft and their work. They see that what they do is larger than just their own lives, for when they share their generationally learned talents with those of us in different lives, worlds, communities, they see a bridge is built... and that in and of itself is joy. A pretty good "why".
¨History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed, art has remembered the people, because they created.¨
-William Morris, influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, who promoted the joy of craftsmanship and beauty of nature.