A rewarding part of running our shop is choosing who we work with. We love working with local makers and other small businesses led by talented, positive and hard-working people. The vibrancy of each person we work with shows through in the home goods they make, and that, our friends, translates into good energy in your home.
Enter, Tasha Ball and her new fiber arts business, House Sparrow Fine Nesting. She's been an avid fiber artist for many years now and recently made her items available to the public for purchase through our shop. We are so proud! So far, there are blankets, wall hangings and hanging planters.
Learn more about our maker:
Where are you from? I grew up on the west side of the metro. I moved back a few years ago. When I go to town, I drive by the elementary school my grandmothers, my mother, and I all went to. Nearby is where the old cotton, steel, and glass mills where my grandparents and great-grandparents made their working lives. I'm proud to be from people who made their living by their hands. I'm grateful that I can make my life in the same place they made theirs. These characters, where they lived, and the things they loved often sneak into whatever I'm working on, whether it's weaving, writing, or caring for my friends and family.
How long have you been working in the fiber arts? What is your history with them? My husband is a smart man who often comes home with gifts for me. One night early in our marriage, my gift from him was a learn-to-knit kit. I wasn’t without prior instruction in the handcrafts. My grandmothers created sprawling and skillful works in crochet and quilting, and each taught me a thing or two. I studied textiles as part of my degree in American Studies at OSU, when I interviewed dozens of quilters in our part of the state about their work and its meaning. Even so, it took a detour through the arts-and-crafts aisle by a man who is much more at home on a thousand-yard rifle range to urge me grow into my inheritance.
Why is this your medium? For centuries women have used textiles and handcraft as a way to speak out, to validate what was dismissed as domestic and to assert the value of their work in the public sphere. Symbols and patterns used in quilts, weavings, even the colorwork in your knitted mittens are anchored in tradition and quiet dignity. That our grandmothers had the courage, energy, and creativity to transform scraps left over from caretaking into new, beautiful things has always inspired me. I’ve worked in quilting and embroidery but yarn, roving, and cord is just what feels best in my hands right now.
You have a past, Tasha Does Tulsa, what leads you to this moment of handmade endeavors verses the written world? I don’t see my work with handcraft and the written word as all that different from each other, really. They use different muscles, but when well done I think they do the same basic things—portray, interpret, illuminate, and dignify, to name a few. I often fail, but this is what I aspire to in most things that I do. I’m sure that I have friends in the writing world who would scoff at the time I spend with fiber and textiles, but they wouldn’t be the first. These media have only recently earned legitimacy in the art world. It’s a political thing rooted in power structures older than dirt—in much of the world this was women’s work, remember—but that's changing, which is exciting. Tulsa even has its own handcraft museum, in downtown Tulsa at 108 | Contemporary. It's the state's only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to fine craft. Go see.
Why is art important in a home? In the world we live in, dominated by global concerns which have changed how we shop, eat, work, sleep, and even the shapes of our cities, homes, and our very bodies, weaving art into such a space is a bold act indeed. Not that Target and Apple and Costco don’t entice us, but every dollar for art made special, for days or weeks or years the creator can never get back, is a vote for a way of life lived closer to the ground, to the veins and bones. Plus, when you bring art into your home, you'll likely unsettle a guest at some point. This is what friends are for.
Why do you love Tulsa right now? When I started in journalism and blogging nearly a decade ago, the heart of our city was a ghost town. I hope my generation is the last that’s taught to avoid the area. Because downtown is now a busy and increasingly crowded place, more voices have joined the conversation about what Tulsa was and what it could become. As a result, we’re looking less often to other cities to tell us what we can be. We’re closer than we’ve been for decades to building something new, a city unlike any other, a city to behold. The progress is encouraging; still, the headlines out of Tulsa prove more voices are needed. Groundbreaking collaborations can be found amongst the young, creative people here. This community pulls from every part of town, myriad backgrounds, a rainbow of socioeconomic strata, and they're making things no one has ever seen before. I’m so proud to see, support, and, every time I can, be part of that.
"Not that Target and Apple and Costco don’t entice us, but every dollar for art made special, for days or weeks or years the creator can never get back, is a vote for a way of life lived closer to the ground, to the veins and bones." - Tasha Ball
Thank you Tasha for sharing your story and being a part of ours!
Follow Tasha on Instagram @housesparrownesting