Today I attended the Virginia Show in Cavan, a celebration of farming and rural life, a bustling occasion to display your pride and joy be it your cow, your tractor or a shapely egg! I love those occasions and wish I could attend them more often. I have to admit having a particular liking for bulls, fascinating huge beast not to be triffled with. And when a farmer combs, curls, polishes his pet Belgian Blue (and the tail that has to be fluffled up), it sends me into fits of giggles! Simple joy, hey!…
Oftentimes, people ask me: “What does Huga mean?”. Well it has a lot in common with Virginia Agricultural Show, albeit nothing with Belgian Blue, thankfully. Huga, comes from the Danish word Hygge, meaning wellbeing, light-heartedness, fun, conviviality, heart warming. It has a ring of togetherness. A bit like a mug of chocolate by the fire, a soft stretched out jumper or exchanging knock-knock jokes. Well, okay I saw no farmers indulging in such behaviour but the sense of community was palpable. People enjoyed a serious yet friendly competition. It looked like everybody knows each other. It oozed hard work, fun, generated plenty of oooh and aah, smiles and everybody found something to their tastes. The do felt cosy and comfy, despite the mud. But there you are: I like the fact it is muddy, hard work and possibly uncompromising. Because in many way, I think craft is the same. Craft, like farming, are often portrayed as some romantic activities. The reality is: It is hard work, it is messy, it is also fun and along the way you meet very interesting people. It makes life more vibrant.
But I guess, to be truthful, that to be able to display a prize winning beast or a well crafted item, requires many hours of lonely hard work. Also it can be hard to break into a cosy established community and the effort to get to know somebody can be easily overriden by the comfort of what one already has. I do not have a farming background so I can only be an observer in Virginia, and maybe I prefer it this way. One can get too entangled in a social web. Not everybody is like that though and depression can be rife among crafters and farmers. I do not mind the isolation but also do like, for however a fleeting moment, to come out from my cave and share a sense of solidarity and connection with fellow crafters at pop-up events. We all know the Huganess of craft and its demands, but it is in the blood, like farming. I like that… even more than the Belgian Blue….
(If you are a crafter, please share your lifestyle experience)
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