appreciation or appropriation ?

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If you are on Instagram (I am) and even more if you are part of the Instagram knitting community (I am not but have friends being active parts of it), it is probable that you have heard about the current discussion that happened after Karen Templer’s blog post (here), to which she added another blog post (here).

To make long short, she’s (unintentionally) offended mostly people of color (POC) but not only, by the words she used & the things she said about her upcoming trip to India. It gave birth to a pretty large network of discussions all over the Instagram knitting community (& beyond !), about the lack of visibility of the Black & Indegenous people of color (BIPOC) & about white privilege.

In one of these discussions, which already were food for thought in themselves, something brought another topic to my attention : the appropriation of another (country’s) culture.

There’s no secret for you readers that I genuinely appreciate lots of aspects of Japanese culture. I love Japanese fabrics & textiles, Japenese art in general, and Japanese aesthetic. It’s been many years now, and not just a trend, in my personal case. And in the end, it does inspire me to create things (to sell, I’m not denying), with this culture (that is not mine) in mind. Many questions suddenly appear in my mind :

  • Am I wrong to do so ? Did I have the right to do so ?

  • Does it make me illegitimate to “borrow” (in a way) that culture that is not mine ?

  • Am I offending anyone of that culture if I make things (to sell) inspired by their culture, naming my creations after names or words from that culture/language ?

  • Am I honoring this culture ? Who can say if I am or if I am not ?

I truly admitt I had never thought about it all before. Mea culpa. I never realized that I was appropriating another culture than mine. It’s always been sincerely coming from my heart with a desire of honoring this culture.

I have ALWAYS felt like a citizen of the world, not like a white girl from southern France. I have French & Spanish blood in my veins. My husband has French, Tunisian & Italian blood in his, and I think of us as a Mediterranean mix. My niece’s mom is from Colombia. We are all fruits of immigration, one way or another, there’s no denying. And to me, it blurs the lines in the end.

▲ I need your opinion on these questions above, as I am experiencing creative & cultural confusion ! It’s stopped me in my tracks & don’t know what to think anymore.

I will accept constructive critics but no agressive accusations. (and just a side note, I’m not waiting for approval or validation)

With many thanks for your time & opinion. ♥
ox

Sonia