A couple of programs on TV and discussions on the radio have given me pause for thought recently.They fired my old brain cells up and I wonder what you guys think on this subject. Myself being a textile person I was intrigued with the lead into a radio program saying....We are going to talk to a professor of surgery who has enlisted the help of textile artists and embroiderers to teach young surgeons about their skills with sewing different fabrics together. The professor told us that while his junior surgeons had abundance of intellectual skills their manual experience and practical skills where often lacking. He said young people on the whole do not have a childhood making things as much as they used to. Children of my generation were always making something, from den construction outside, to tiny detailed models of all kinds of things. We organically absorbed how to put things together, my girl's school did two plays per year, so we built sets and painted scenery with out the tyranny of ..Health and Safety! Sports day, well we set the whole thing up as well as run in the races. So what has this got to do with surgery you may wonder, well the body is made up of many different tissues with different textures and strengths, people who sew, know how you change the technique to connect one kind of fabric to a very different other fabric. Not only that but sewing brand new fabric is a lot different to sewing vintage older worn fabric. this requires different handling and strengthening.
I'm often saddened by the weekly regime of children today. So often every moment is filled with some worthy activity that is organized mostly by adults.They have little time to mess about doing stuff on their own with their peers, being creative ,making mistakes and learning from them, without effort. Absorbing skills that can be used everywhere later in life.
The TV program is on the BBC at present. A group of craft persons and artists are living in a house together. Each week they are set the task of making something for a room in the house. They are working to the ideals of ,The Arts and Craft Movement, of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Whole books have been written about William Morris and this movement, so hard for me to condense it into a sentence or two. Morris believed that society and art are inextricably linked. By art he did not just mean fine painting and sculpture but also fine crafts that came from some basic human instinct to make the things we live with and use everyday, pleasing. He singlehandedly lifted the status of the true traditional crafts person. He believed that everyone had a right to live in well designed homes and have beautiful things to live with and use. All this was a reaction to the brutality of the then new, industrial revolution. Yes we should all love to have handcrafted stuff but the reality is....time is money. Most of us cannot afford to completely fill our homes with expert crafted goods. For instance one task for the wood worker in out TV group of crafts people, was to make a well designed spindle chair.The man started with a tree trunk, no power tools and he did produce a beautiful chair in a week of 12 hour days. Cost today? about 1600 pounds sterling, still you have such a chair for a life time. Anyway Morris was a great designer and you will all be familiar with his wallpaper and textile designs if you know it or not. They are used on mugs, tea towels, cushions to this day.
What this program is saying....I think? Is that we have to get back to making quality goods that last. My mother had the same vacuum cleaner her entire life, I'm on my 6th. Fridges used to last, now I was told when I bought the last one, it should last 12 years. There is an ad' on TV now telling us we should throw out our mattress when it is 8years old. They have to start making clothes that last longer, keep their shape because they are well constructed. Grandfather's tools are still in constant use, you can buy a screw driver and the handle breaks. I can buy needles that rust or break and often bend. No one wants to mend anything these days.
But hang on.......perhaps we are the fault here, ever wanting new, we are hooked on constant change and fashions. As with any addiction, it only increases. We need faster and faster change over to make us feel alive and with it? Well everything is telling us we can't keep using resources at this rate, the very stuffs of life we used to think were limitless, we now know are not so. Already we in our arrogance are looking for another planet to colonize and no doubt waste it too but OK we will find another one? Can we get back to careful management of the world's resources, can we?
Here I go again, an other serious blog, I'm sorry people, I wish I had something lighted hearted to write about but you must admit everything in the news is pretty depressing. I deliberately actively avoid news some days. Is the whole world having a nervous breakdown I wonder? How is it that everyone is shouting but no one is listening? I think it would be good....very good, if people got back to doing some work with their hands and being creative again. When you are being creative you are activating the right side of the brain and time does not rule there. Time slows and passes without notice, we need this to balance life. We need to teach everyone to exercise their right brain and slow everything down a touch.