Hand Skills

Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?

Automation may be possible for a lot of things but some things that are made by hand simply cannot match a machine-made product. Hand made things  like carpets, hand embroidered clothes, shoes and other handicrafts are more expensive and valuable. I love collecting handicrafts and I have lots of them from my own country and around the world.

I also love creating things with my own hands. It may take long but the results are there for everyone to see.

The finished work

Hand embroidered collage of Allah and His Attributes

I have to admit though, that some things are better automated, the biggest example being that I can always make cake using Betty Crocker’s Cake mix instead of having to make it myself. It’s always so perfect why bother to do it yourself?


Crafts for girls

20131203_170833In my spare time I teach (for free) a group of ladies and young girls how to make handicrafts. This morning I taught a bunch of young girls aged 7 to 15 how to do embroidery.

Now this is not as easy as it seems, firstly because of the big age difference between youngest and oldest and secondly because it was rather a large group of girls. The younger girls did not even know how to thread a needle and so I had to start with the basics with them. The older girls did very well and managed to learn how to do the satin stitch and the stem stitch in half an hour’s time.

So the girls have been instructed to practice these two basic stitches at home and those who perfect them should learn one more stitch by watching tutorials on the internet. This will get them interested in learning more and more (hopefully). After they have learnt the basic embroidery stitches I will give them some projects to do. Dividing them into 3 groups according to age, I will give each group a project appropriate for their level. They will have till the end of the year to complete their projects.

I previously taught this same group how to make roses out of felt and I was amazed at how well they learnt it. They had been told to use the flowers to make different things which would be sold for charity. They came up with wonderful innovative ideas like making pictures, bags and hair accessories. Most of the things they made were sold as well.

When I was their age I learnt how to do embroidery in school. We had a separate subject in which we were taught handicrafts. This of course was in addition to our main subjects of Science, Maths, History and Geography. If nothing else I think learning sewing and other things helped me to be creative for which I am very grateful.

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