Make something

Last night, Mr. Wanderlust and I watched an episode of a BBC documentary series about people who swap lives for a chance to walk in another person’s shoes. In this episode, a civil servant from London trades places with a hunter from rural Guyana. At the end of their adventure, each man felt inspired by the other to make a change — how ever big or small — in his own life. I found it interesting that the man from Guyana, Lionel, while staying with the family of the man in London, not only learned about the family’s lifestyle and acquired new life skills, but also had an opportunity to teach the man’s daughter to carve arrowheads from wood. She, in turn, created an eBay listing for the arrowheads in an effort to help Lionel profit from his creations. Her father, she said, had never taught her to make anything. In an update at the end of the episode, the family’s two children in London started taking woodworking lessons after their father returned home from his adventure and wished for his children to learn a skill that goes beyond digital work and learning.

This documentary reminded me of a recent episode of the Good Life Project podcast, in which Jonathan Fields discusses the importance of developing tactile skills in today’s digitally oriented world.

As of late, Mr. Wanderlust has been at work in our garage / his woodworking shop, cutting new jewellery items that he is planning to sell soon at local craft markets. As a full-time engineer he spends the majority of his days in front of a computer screen. Woodworking provides him with an opportunity to allow the right hemisphere of his brain to work its creative magic.

In our family, creative inspiration tends to spring up when we least suspect. The Wanderlust Juniors pick up their pencils and sketchbooks when it’s time to prepare for bed at the end of a typical school day. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I chose to ignore my housework ‘to do’ list in favour of making a jupe door wreath, the kit for which I had purchased several years ago. Last weekend, after spotting a pattern for a knitting project that looks too delicious to resist, I found myself at the local knitting shop 15 minutes before it closed, with the pattern in hand and determination shining brightly while I narrowed down my options to one perfect choice of yarn. I breezed through most of the project within a day, needles flying and clicking, then had to put it on hold to take care of more pressing matters (ahem, paid work, for instance). I plan to pick it up again this evening, in an effort to complete it. What is it about knitting that I enjoy so much? From the moment when, at five years of age I picked up Babushka’s pair of knitting needles, I have felt a longing to work with yarn, to create textiles out of soft fibers.

As Jonathan Fields explains in the podcast, tactile creative projects often feel much more rewarding in comparison with digital ones. I will naturally choose gardening, knitting, or baking any day over the building of a website, though the building of a website is a skill that is important to me at this time. I love snail mail and continue to post old fashioned cards to friends in lieu of digital ones. There is something innately satisfying and calming in writing something on beautiful paper in smooth black ink.

What do you enjoy creating with your hands? Is there a sensory activity that you have always wanted to learn? Tell me about it in the comments below, then go make something!

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(Other) favourites from around the web:

Frugality and ethical shopping. Yes, please.

Good news for everyone who doesn’t enjoy schmoozing

One year ago on the blog: What I learned in the past 10 days

Yoga: If you are in the mood for bite-sized yoga, here is a practice I prepared for you to help cultivate gratitude. Enjoy, like, and subscribe to my channel for more upcoming videos!

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