Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Does the world need another blog?

William Morris: Hopefully not as serious
as he always looks and someone who
understood so much.

No, probably not. But then it is unlikely that we need half the stuff that modern life creates and yet still there it is. So I am sure that one more blog won’t make much difference. I think we can fit it in. Just.

So what’s it all about then?

Life. And a deep down belief that the current way of doing things just isn’t working, for us or for the planet.

Currently satisfying the needs of life (the things we need to survive) is causing the world great problems, and yet the irony is that the meeting of them presents the greatest opportunity for us to fulfil our innate creative desires, in a sustainable way. The problem is a great disconnect between the things around us and their creation – both in a global sense, but also in a very personal one. I doubt that many of us would purchase so many of the things that we do if we saw the environment in which they were created, devoid of compassion or care. And that flows over into the object – it is impersonal, identical and dead. We have no connection to it, no involvement in its production other than its consumption. Perhaps if this was just one or two objects in our lives it would be bearable – the almost unavoidable computer or phone. But it’s not, it's everything.

The moment that we take a step back from that, no matter how small, is an act of great love and compassion, towards ourselves, others and the earth. When we say, ‘no I am not going to buy that’, it is a great liberating step. It might be that you realise you don’t actually need it or that you can get it second-hand, but it might also be that you can make something to meet your needs.

That is really what this blog is all about, what happens when you try to live as lightly and yet also as creatively as possible. I am not unique in this aim by any stretch, but this is my story of what happens when I try it.

John Lane's Timeless Simplicity
says everything in 100 pages
that I could hope to express
in a lifetime.
It’s modest – really modest. But actually it is also just a little bit profound. Because to do all that you can to try and lessen your impact on others is all that anyone can ask you to do. And actually if we all did that many of the problems would pretty much disappear. The really sad thing is that in an effort to convince us that life is best bought with a 30-day money back guarantee, they have made us think that homemade is second best, that poor means poverty. And the truth is that whilst that can be the case, it needn’t be.

Of course it isn’t easy. Society makes sure of that. If you want to herd sheep you put up hedges and send out dogs so that the only easy route is the one into the pen. And I’ll try to fight my own pride in an effort to be honest about the challenges I face, but I passionately believe that it has the potential to be the most richest and rewarding of lives.

The rhythm of life (is a powerful thing)

Because the blog will follow the projects I work on it will develop a natural rhythm and journey. At the moment it is likely to be quite woodworking and indoor crafts focused, as its winter. Come spring and summer there will be much more from the allotment. Likewise the books and texts I read seem to come in patterns; for a while it will be several on one subject and then perhaps I will have a flight of fancy and immerse myself in something else. At the moment it is traditional woodworking and more specifically the traditional uses of different trees, but I can feel a change coming and have already ordered some library books on reading and interpreting the historical landscape.

It all sounds very heavy!

Yes, it does a bit doesn’t it? And perhaps I should be wary of setting such grand hopes. Certainly I want the normal posts to mix the very practical with a bit of background information, so perhaps this is as deep and heavy as we’ll go, but anyway we’ll see how we get on. 

I hope to avoid any egotistical ‘Hey, look at me and what I can do’, and instead use the blog to share some of the things I am working on or thinking about so that others may share their experiences too or be inspired to try it themselves. I am no creative genius, nor super talented crafts-person (as you’ll all too clearly see!) and so if I do succeed along the way the chances are that you’ll be twice as successful, if only you’ll give it a go.

"Let's go back to basics and remember that all we really have to do is put a roof over our heads and meals on the table. Beyond that our time can be better spent enjoying our lives, being with the people we love, creating things we love that don't harm the earth, and contributing something meaningful to the world." Elaine St James

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