Make do and me-time (…and save the world a little bit)

28 Jul
The Make Lounge

The Make Lounge

Oh, switch it off. ‘What? Never!’ I hear you cry. But recently I discovered that we all should. And frequently. As we all know, in this age of 3G, cloud-computing and Twitter feeds, it’s hard to remember to take a break from all the i-noise (she says as she types her blog).

I heard on Radio 4 the other day about a new scheme where depression sufferers are recovering through learning how to garden. The nurturing aspect of this past-time gives them great personal reward: it forces them into a new surrounding – and to switch off from their normal routine.

Ok, so I know our addiction to net noise isn’t the same as depression, but the key point is that escaping a routine can be good soul food. Too long without that break can leave us feeling frazzled, tired or wired. It’s to those of you nodding in agreement (and to those of you who just like crafty shit) that I am speaking.

Our e-escape lies, rather excitingly, in a bunch of inanimate objects, just waiting – like dirty buried truffles – to be turned into something beautiful. And by your fair hands, no less. I found total and unexpected relief, recently, in making beaded necklaces with my niece. The careful formulation of colour patterns and shapes became stupidly mesmeric and busied us for the best part of two hours, which flew by like seconds. As we beaded, the stress of my Getting Stuff Done Yesterday working day evaporated and I totally forgot that I hadn’t refreshed Twitter in more than ten minutes. (Gasp).

So, there it is. Craft is therapy. And luckily for us there are plenty of workshops  popping up to prove this point. The Papered Parlour in Clapham put on various workshops from dressmaking to printing your own wallpaper and The Make Lounge in Islington have a wonderful, broad range of classes such as creative cross stitch, making festive fascinators and ‘knockout’ knickers. If you’re down Brighton way, Sew in Brighton teach how to sew, design, mend and alter your own clothes.

If you don’t fancy taking a class, get inspiration at home from Indie Craft by Jo Waterhouse, a sweet book that showcases the work of a band of inventive handy-folk, who make everything from crocheted fried breakfasts to knitted graffiti.

Someone who truly understands this form of escapism – and gets even more out of it than just that – is John-Paul Flintoff. (Yes, a man). In the welcome note to his book, Sew Your Own, he says: ‘I never intended to go searching for the meaning of life – far less to find it in making my clothes. But one thing led to another and it gradually dawned on me that the best way to save cash, reduce emissions, and take control from ‘the system’ would be to modify a shirt, then make a pair of jeans, and eventually to harvest nettles, spin the fibres and knit myself a pair of Y-fonts.’

So, what are you waiting for? Switch off, make some ‘you time’, and save the world while you’re at it.

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