As part of my ‘intentional 2016’, I’m experimenting with a loose theme for each month here on the blog.
Last month was all about introducing Buying Nothing New: finally blogging about why I buy nothing new; and the practicalities of finding the things you need when you’re buying nothing new; among other hopefully useful posts.
This month, I want to explore making, and ways we can create and make, while being conscious of the wider impact of that process, on ourselves, and on the planet.
When I first learned to sew, I was so excited to discover the sweetie shop delights of the habersdashery, and all the beautiful fabric! And then I learned to crochet, and I got to drool over beautiful yarn too. It took me a while to realise that all these ‘ingredients’ have to be made, from raw materials, and that super cheap fabric and yarn has the same implications for the planet as super cheap clothes.
I’ve got a blog post planned that talks more about “Why Slow Making?” but for now, I want to try and nail down what Slow Making means to me.
For me, ‘Slow’ is nothing to do with the speed. It is possible to do quick things, and for them still to be Slow.
My personal take on Slow is two-pronged:
The first bit is the bit that I’m ok at. It’s about where things come from, who has made it, where it’s been made.
Our year of buying nothing new forced me to stop and think about all of these things, and now it has almost become second nature. Before I buy anything, I always think about how sustainable it is, how local it is to me, and how re-useable/recyclable it is. In fact, I came up with a geeky S.L.O.W pneumonic (indulge me…):
Soooooo, if something is sustainably produced, is local (ish. Living on a small temperate island does severely limit the local thing), and is Zero Waste, then that is my friends, the Holy Grail.
It’s also about mending, and re-purposing, and good old Making Do.
The second bit of my two-pronged take on Slow, is the process bit. The mindful bit, the focussing on that one thing bit.
The bit that actually really benefits us as makers and creatives, and helps to soothe our souls.
The bit I am really really bad at
I am not a slow person at all. I rush into things, I rush things, and I definitely focus on the product rather than the process.
This bit of slow appeals to me. I want to be one of those people who sit and quietly knit and relish the difficult fiddly bits and really focus on the feel of the yarn, and take their time to enjoy it. But I tend to think I don’t have time for it. Which is frankly kind of ridiculous.
I have loads of new crafts I want to learn: knitting; spinning; natural dyeing; candle making…
But what I really need to learn, or to work on, is the process bit.
It seems vaguely futile for my desire to make ‘all the things’ to take the pleasure out of making them. If I am constantly rushing projects, so that I can get on to the next one, it means I end up making things I’m not happy with. Precisely because I rushed them.
I guess for me, Slow Making is all about being more conscious and deliberate about the raw materials I am using to make with, and also
trying to be being more conscious and deliberate about the process of making. My hope is that in focussing on Slow Making, I can maybe start Making Slow, and create the time and the space to stop and enjoy the process.
Does any of this make any sense?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Slow Making-I think it will probably mean something different to everyone. Let’s start a whole conversation around this-I think it’s really important stuff. Leave a comment if you’d like to, or hop over to Facebook or Twitter to let me know your take on Slow Making.