Friday, April 30, 2010

Neutral Ground

Earlier this month, I went to DFW Fiber Fest. (Like a gun show, but with yarn.) One of the classes I took was on Dyeing Yarn and Roving, taught by my spinning instructor. We worked in the little convention center's kitchen- it's a water-heavy process. She instructed us to choose three colors from her collection of dyes and illustrated various ways that we could apply them to our fibers.

Those of us who were dyeing roving (unspun wool) had to consider how our combinations would look when spun into single strands and then plied together into yarn. Leef told us about a process that would, if we liked, prevent the 'barber pole' effect of two distinct colors twined together. You divide your fibers into two equal batches, as usual. You spin one as is, preserving your distinct colors. The second you comb, with carders, into one muted color called a 'neutral ground'. When you ply these together, they balance each other- the original colors retain their individuality, which is actually strengthened by being offset by a shade that combines them all.

I think, here in America, we have lost our 'neutral ground'. The commonality of our culture has been splintered into so many warring social, ethnic, racial, religious and even economic factions that there's not a lot holding us together. Now, this is not to say that there's ever been a time when things were perfect- we are a nation of fallen human beings- but we had a vision that actually worked. But the bases of our 'neutral ground'- the ideas of the Founding Fathers, a shared and common Judeo-Christian morality and a unique American consensus of who we were existed to ground our individualities and allow them to flourish.


julie said...

Yes, I think you're right about the loss of neutral ground. We've replaced the melting pot with the salad bowl, only this salad is made of a ton of ingredients that do anything but complement each other.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"(Like a gun show, but with yarn.)"

Ha ha! Great line, Sal!

I also concur about the loss of neutral ground in many places throughout the US.

Thankfully, I live in a "pocket" of neutral ground, so to speak.
During the big flood we had it was comforting and exhilarating to know that the folks our little country community share the same cohesive and unique American values our Founders had.

I'm sure it's the same in most parts of Texas.

I pray the tide changes for the Good, nationally speaking. It's gonna be a helluva battle though.