Welcome to Mend It May!
How on earth it is May already, I have no idea. But it is, and Mend It May officially launches today!
When I started thinking about content for Mend It May, it struck me that it might be useful to start the list with a post about why mending is important, and also why I’ve decided to launch a whole month long celebration and exploration of it.
Let’s start with Why Mend?
Well this is my list so far:
- It keeps stuff out of landfill
- It saves the resources that would be needed to replace it and make a new one
- It values the resources already in that item, and in doing so, values the people who have made the item, and produced the raw goods.
- It’s hugely satisfying, and I think really empowering to take something that you think is beyond repair, and to have a go. I’m often surprised at the things we manage to fix, and I’m not going to lie, it does generate a feeling inside that could be said to be verging on smug…
- You get to save your favourite things, or the things that really mean something to you. Whether that’s your favourite pair of jeans that fit just right, or a family keepsake, when these things rip or break, mending them gives them a secondchance, and allows you to hold onto them for longer.
- You get to learn new skills. I had never even sewed on a button until we spent out year Buying Nothing New, but rapidly learned loads of new skills and techniques, including how to sew on buttons!
- Mending can be a form of therapy. I came across Katrina Rodabaugh, and her concept of ‘mendfulness’ recently-I love it, and am looking forwards to exploring it more during Mend It May
- It’s a form of quiet disruption and protest. A way of saying “No” to the status quo of cheap, disposable goods and taking a stand.
- Money saving. We’ve saved ourselves a small fortune, both from smaller mends of things like jeans, but also things like the washing machine and dishwasher. Neither needed anything massively complicated, but in times gone by, I think we would have just assumed they couldn’t be repaired, and bought a new one.
- You get to meet a whole wonderful community, both online and off, all doing the same thing, and menders are generally pretty awesome.
- Starting a conversation. All of my jeans are patched to a greater or lesser extent, and if anyone comments on them, it’s a great way to start a simple conversation about mending, why we do it, and why it matters.
I’m looking forwards to exploring each reason in more detail as Mend It May unfolds, and I’d love to hear from you the reasons you mend, and why you’re joining in with Mend It May!
(do leave a comment below, or in the Mend It May Facebook group, or you can e-mail me: jen at makedoandmend-able dot co dot uk).
That brings us onto why Mend It May?
For me, on a purely personal level, I’m hoping it will incentivise me to tackle my ever growing mending pile. I have an awful habit of procrastinating, and putting it off, but inevitably find that when I do make a start, it takes far less time than I anticipated, and is actually quite enjoyable and satisfying! And I figured that other people might want that same motivation to tackle their own mending, and if we were all in it together, we could support and encourage each other.
On a wider, more altruistic level, I really want to see if we can ‘raise the profile’ of mending. Lovely Meg of Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet commented on Twitter that mending shouldn’t be seen as the poor relation to making, and I think that for quite some time now it has been. During the Make Do and Mend era of WW2, mending was seen as badge of honour, a visible statement that you were doing your bit for King and country. Thrift and resourcefulness were traits that were valued, and encouraged. As our planet enters unchartered territory, and we continue to plunder it’s resources, we may well find that we are forced to return to this way of thinking. We have seen a much welcomed resurgence in the Maker Movement over the last few years-making has become ‘cool’ again, and knitting, sewing and weaving are no longer the things our Grannys did, but are the skills that are being embraced wholeheartedly by a whole new generation of makers. We need the same thing to happen for mending. Mending needs to be mainstream, to be normal, to be easier than chucking something out and buying something new.
I also think it’s really important that we get more people mending, so that we preserve and pass on the skills that our grandparents would have taken for granted.
Prior to our year of buying nothing new, if a button fell off something, I wouldn’t even attempt to put it back on. I would simply pass it on to my mother in law and ask her to do it (I know, I am mortified now). But I don’t think I was alone in doing that (obviously not everyone was giving my mother in law their repairs, but perhaps others also pass theirs on to their own mothers, mother in laws, aunts etc). And if we don’t learn to do it for ourselves, we are going to be scuppered when that generation is no longer around to do it for us. And we’ll have absolutely no chance of passing those skills onto our own kids.
We need to re-skill a whole generation. A generation who might never have used a sewing machine (I had never even touched one until about 6 years ago!) or even put up a shelf. These are possibly pretty basic life skills, but I don’t think we value them enough (at all?) anymore. And we won’t realise how valuable they are until we can’t find anyone to do them for us.
I know that Mend It May won’t do all of these things.
But it will be making a start.
It’s me, sticking my neck out and saying that I think these things are important. From the reaction I’ve had so far, even in just a week, it seems like other people think they are important too.
Mend It May might not change the world, but it might make a start. It might start some conversations, and at the very least I hope it will save some stuff from landfill.
So let’s get started.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some information on where to find the things you need, the tools and equipment, to get mending-I hope you’ll pop by!