Makers & Doers

Making things is good for us. It’s often good for the environment in terms of reduced carbon emissions and maximising of materials; it’s good for individuals in terms of mental and physical health; and its good for communities, bringing people together to socialise and build relationships through the process of creating and sharing.

Every year as I go about organising the Midsummer Fayre, I come across scores of people involved in making food or crafts right on Wellington’s doorstep. For many it is a passion as much as a job, and for some it isn’t a job at all, but simply something they do in their spare time without making any money for themselves. Seeing how much visitors at the fayre enjoy all these homemade delights, you quickly get a sense of how appreciated these makers are – when we find them – and how valuable they are to an area.

Gardening is a great example. At allotments, people not only grow fruit and vegetables for themselves, they often share produce, tips and ideas with their fellow-gardeners. With council-run allotments unable to meet demand, the Wrekin Allotment Cooperative are looking for a site of their own to be operated on a co-operative model – and in the meantime, they’re working in the spirit of that venture with events like seed-swaps, encouraging gardeners to share and exchange.

Philip in the workshop

Wellington’s Knitter Knatter group is part-conversation, part-craft. Knitters Joy and Margaret are particularly worthy of a mention here. Formerly owners of Buzy Bees woolshop in the town, on retiring two years ago we asked them if they could help make costumes for the Midsummer Fayre. They were incredibly generous with their time, and turned out ten beautiful professional-standard costumes for the Georgian Procession for no more than the cost of the material, in spite of many hours of work they must have put in. If we had bought those costumes, they probably would have set us back about £2,000. So many local people like Joy and Margaret have skills which they put to good use throughout the year, making our town a brighter place to be.

Do you know of any clandestine groups of ‘makers’, or lone creative types, quietly beavering away on projects that should be celebrated? Have you got any ideas for collective making projects to brighten up the town? Let us know!

For more about Doers & Makers, read these blog posts…