It was a day for firsts: I spent almost an entire day making, kid-free. I used a sewing machine. And, I made a sweet little rag doll.
She is not neat. She is not perfect. She has bits poking out (I can see stuffing) and bald spots on the back of her head. Her limbs are uneven and different sizes. But, she is mine. No—she is now my daughter's—but she is mine in the sense of the experience I had making her is all mine.
There are so many remarkable things that happen when you go to a class with other people and learn to make something with your hands:
1. You are not thinking of 'all the things.' You know, the stuff that you think about in everyday life.
2. You talk with the other women alongside you, who are also making stuff with their hands.
3. You leave the experience with a physical thing—the thing you made. Sometimes you tear that thing up, sure. Sometimes you forget about it entirely. But sometimes you admire that thing and think: 'I'm glad I spent a day making that thing.'
4. You tell your kids or your friends or your parents or your partner about the thing you made. Maybe they will be inspired the next time they have a day off and will choose to make something instead of buy something. To do instead of consume.
5. You give your child the thing and she names it Windy and throws it in the corner with a pile of other toys that are currently 'not the best at being toys.'
And that's cool, too.
Because I am just so glad I got to make this thing.
If you're in NYC or the Lower Hudson Valley, you must check out the Eileen Fisher Learning Lab in Irvington, New York. Their Makerspace Workshops are led by various artists and industry professionals who will teach you to craft something by hand (like my lopsided little rag doll named Windy) using upcycled materials. You can check out their full schedule right here.
Photos by Rebecca Pitts.