Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Not really related

It's Saturday which means I have my Encajes de Bolillos class at the community center from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.  For those of you who are keeping track, this is a homosocial space - all women - learning the Galician art of lace-making that is most famously known in Camariñas, a fishing town on the Northern Costa da Morte.

The YouTube video which is included above will give you sense of how the practice looks and, more importantly, sounds.  The weaving is done with small wooden bolillos which click against the hard surface of the pillow on which the piece is created.  Click, click, click.  Similar in tone and rhythm to the sound of typing on a keyboard.  Click, click, click.  Stop for a minute, think, get organized, click, click, click.

I signed up for the class because I was drawn to the clicking sound.  I also like to hang out in homosocial spaces and hear what the women are talking about.  Practice my Gallego.  Also, I want to be friends with the people at the groovy community center.

But mostly, I'm there for the story.  Sitting in the stout concrete building, shutters closed to keep out both the sun and the rain, learning the art of the days gone by. Click, click, click.  There is a story to be told.  Women sitting, waiting for sons and husbands to return from the sea, the war, the Americas.  Women deciding, plotting, reconsidering.  Some people run, others meditate or welcome each other into groups with warm cups of coffee.  Others count and knot - click, click, click.