Crafting as a Continuing Bond: Exploring the Links between Traditional Handicrafts and Lost Loved Ones
Enya Healey-Rawlings [+]
University of Winchester
Drawing on the continuing bonds theory of Klass, Silverman, and Nickman (1996) and the work of Dr Anna Fisk on knitting as a form of mourning and memory (2019, 2021), in this chapter I will explore the role that traditional handcrafting can play in continuing a relationship with a deceased loved one. As a crafter engaged in the study of death through the Death, Religion and Culture MA, I argue that crafts such as knitting, crochet and sewing offer a space for therapeutic, contemplative reflection surrounding a death and grieving process and that the use of these crafts can offer a capacity for memorializing and remembering our ancestors. The ritualistic aspect of these traditional crafts and the tactile nature, as well as history behind some of the items used within knitting, crochet and sewing offers a tangible and comforting facet to the grieving process. Finally, I will explore the historical importance of handicrafts, as well as the modern-day necessity for continuing these traditional crafts and the impact of feminism on knitting’s culture & prevalence.