THE LEGACY OF HAND-MADE

Hands up who has memories of their mum, grandmother, aunt making things at home for the family? I would try to guess when we went to visit, if my grandmother was baking or making chutney – one I was more keen on than the other – but having access to this world of culinary creativity has been revived within me now that I have children of my own.

sewing creating feb2012 002

My mother would squirrel away remnants of fabric and turn them into beautiful dresses for me – the true hotchpotch design of the home sew-er. I was always so excited by her creations.

sewing basics girl 3

She would also decorate our hairbrushes, school exercise books and bedroom doors with personalised, hand painted designs of flowers and butterflies for me and trains and planes for my brother.

sewing creating P1010138

My aunt would knit the most incredible cable jumpers in steps and stairs sizes for her three boys – which I would then re-home to my wardrobe after they’d been outgrown. And all three of them, mother, aunt and grandmother, did the most beautiful flower arrangements for the local church and racecourse. They would raid the gardens of their friends and sit the stems in the bathtub to drink.

Looking back, I was surrounded by creativity as a child, I was encouraged to help out and to get involved, even if it was just to lick the spoon. And having that hand crafted know-how at my fingertips inspired me to have a go.

sewing basics girl 2

My daughter selects colours of her felt pens and creates beautiful repeating patterns, worthy of any master tiler. And then she’ll pick up a needle and a tapestry kit. Somewhere inside us is the need to create and most children are interested in doing so; picking up a crayon, sticking together Lego bricks, mixing a cupcake batter, they want to try new things. They find pleasure in creating.

So, how is it that adults lose that interest in creativity? Is life so busy that we find it ‘too much effort’? Is it easier to just buy something in? Of course it is, but let’s look at this, if creativity gives our children pleasure and hand crafts are learned from our family, we are the missing link.

In outsourcing the baking or the sewing, we’ve forgotten the values of the domestic tradition. Knowing that someone has made something for you is the embodiment of ‘actions speaking louder than words.’ It also reinforces the value of time, if something is hand made, it takes time and is worth the wait. Using our hands and taking time over something allows us to slow our thoughts and to reflect on the process and like a therapy, in focusing on something else, we often find answers to other problems. It allows us to reconnect with the past and to pass on skills to our children that they will find beneficial in the future. Above all, knowing we can make something for ourselves, gives us the interest in trying.

Facebook Comments