The World Health Organisation has now characterised the Covid-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. Events are being cancelled, people are encouraged to work at home and anyone symptomatic or in contact with symptomatic people is required to ‘self-isolate’.
While this might make some people more busy, for example if you have to look after children at home, it might also leave some of us with some extra time if work events, activism, holidays or social life are cancelled. What if we consider this as a time to mend, literally? Instead of going out shopping, travelling, or seeking new experiences we might take time to appreciate and sustain things we already have. Mending is a basic feature of a Regenerative Culture.
Mending could mean cleaning, adapting, upcycling, repairing, or decorating. It could mean mending clothes, blankets, accessories, furniture, the garden, devices and equipment, musical instruments, precious heirlooms or gifts, or vehicles, for example.
It could also mean taking some time to improve your wellbeing in terms of how you live, for example, pottering and sorting, rearranging, or doing some DIY. To boost your immunity you need lots of sleep and plenty of sunlight, so perhaps there are some tasks such as installing darker curtains for night time, or removing a window blind that blocks the sun. Could you care for some indoor plants so that they do their best to purify the air? Or, you might want to do something more to support your community, helping others with mending projects or with getting well at this challenging time.
I was meant to be on a trip to Northern Italy to a museum festival and conference, which was to be followed by some interrailing to visit other cities in Italy and France. It was all cancelled, so I’ve been having a quiet and productive time at home. I’ve been mending some old crochet blankets that were made by my daughter’s great grandmother. I’ve also mended a worn out bag found in the street, and added a decoration that says ‘Eco Not Ego’. I’ve darned socks and tights. I’ve done some sashiko-style visible mending to a jacket, two jumpers and a dress. I’m mending an old sewing box and am sorting out lots of supplies so that I can have everything to hand when I want to do textiles work in future. I’ve been sharing some of these using the hashtag #TimetoMend
I’ve been thinking about how:
- Mending can be creative – you have to imagine how something can be restored, improved or adapted
- Mending can be therapeutic – you can trigger memories by re-looking at something, keep your hands busy and quickly see results of your actions
- Mending is a way to be sustainable – rather than buying new things you can put life back into the old
- Mending can be a principle to apply not just to things but to how we live – it can stretch to mending your home, your health, your community and natural places.
So, this is an invitation to share your mending activities whatever they are, using the #TimetoMend hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
To be sure we see it, you can tag our profiles on @ClimateMuseumUK then we can gather what you share into a digital collection of inspiration.