WHAT HANDS-ON MAKING DOES
WHY HANDS-ON MAKING MATTERS
Making is a fun way of engaging with the world around. Creation triggers our curiosity and makes us wonder about things: for instance how materials are made and where they come from, how we relate to the environment, the way we interact with people, the community we are part of, and so on. Let´s say you are making a Chulaya wheelchair doll, you may wonder about the comfort of being seated all day, about how fashion is or is not suitable for wheelchair users, about how people with different mobility can access buildings, how inclusive your community is, etc. Many questions suddenly pop up in our minds that may not have been there before. When we make something, we start noticing things that we did not notice before. Making sparks a playful and exploratory state of mind that gets us into seeking out new possibilities.
While making ignites our curiosity about how things are, it also feeds our imagination as we begin to wonder how things could be. Through making we can `touch` the world around us and get involved in its formation by constructing something new. A Chulaya maker doll for instance, could touch the world by being a statement about inclusivity or it could be an expression on how a person values diversity or beauty. It could also touch the private world of a maker by reaffirming his/her self-worth and reflect personal dreams and aspirations. Regardless of whether ideas are big or small, making is on all occasions a chance to influence what matters to us.
Hand making is different from digital making (or machine making) and is special because of its kinesthetic nature: it is sensory and always involves some kind of physical movement and tactile touch. We are living in a massively screen-based era which greatly affects peoples’ tactility and reduces opportunities to practice our sense of touch. Hence, nowadays digital generations grow up with a limited tactile perception. Chulaya cares about manual making (alongside digital making) precisely to develop and deepen our tactile experiences.
There is more to manual making. When our hands give shape to something, different parts of the brain are being activated that direct our thinking: this process is usually referred to as `thinking with the hands`. In this regard, the field of neuroscience has evidence that engaging the hands through knitting or embroidery, help to improve our focused attention and concentration. Moreover, neuroscience also suggests that the rhythmic and repetitive nature of textile craft such as hand stitching, weaving or knitting generates soothing and calming effects: the relaxation benefits are comparable to the benefits of meditation.
Textile craft is versatile: it allows us to express any volume, texture or shape with greatest detail and precision; interestingly, the human hand tells stories through threading, knotting, weaving and the like. Another fascinating fact is that the gestural movement helps shape the final form of the product we are making! The capacity of the human hands therefore is extraordinary and multifaceted which cannot be replaced by digital tools.
Our credo: CREATIVITY IS IN OUR HANDS then, has a double meaning:
- it is up to us to develop and cultivate our innate creativity
- making with the hands activates our tactile senses and amplifies our creativity