After the initial shock of lockdown had passed, there was a scramble to find ‘things to do’ at home. No one knew how long we were going to be locked down for, so it seemed a good idea to pick up with old hobbies, or try something new. There were a couple of objects from the Museum’s collections that caught my eye when I thought about what we did at home to occupy ourselves. I’ve already written about baking, so activity has already been (proved, baked and..) consumed. There is a stunning wood-carving of a gannet on the shelf in the Drill Hall, but I wasn’t sure that many would have turned to working with wood. In the upstairs gallery is a display of textile art, embroideries and tapestries completed by young Victorian girls. It was the embroidery threads in the occupational packs for the wounded soldiers that I selected. There is, after all, something soothing in working with your hands.
Many people must have had similar thoughts, because in Britain there was a crafting revolution! The following list shows the increases in search terms on Hobbycraft’s website, as people searched for those things to do…
Top 5 craft hobbies
1 Knitting projects 400%
2 Sewing projects 300%
3 Kids arts and crafts 400%
4 Cross Stitch 410%
5 Jigsaw 800%
Top 5 emerging craft trends
1 Crochet 140%
2 Macramé 134%
3 Cricut 90%
4 Brush lettering 70%
5 Marbling 67%
For my lockdown efforts, I picked up a new project for my knitting needles, one that was a little more taxing given that I would have additional time. It has stalled at the tricky bit. I’m trying to convince myself that it was as a result of the change in weather, and who wants to be handling wool on a warm day?
My mum decided to make face coverings, but there was no elastic to be found anywhere. Fortunately hairbands seem to do the trick, and she was able to reduce some of her fabric-stash mountain.
I tried to buy a jigsaw puzzle, but these were also in short supply. One that I ordered in early April has a delivery now set for September. Let’s hope it’s not a forewarning of a second spike!
One of the best things on television to come out of Lockdown was Grayson Perry’s Art Club, where Perry set a ‘topic’ per week to explore. Perry and his wife created their art to the theme, but also encouraged viewers to send in images of their work to be included in a future exhibition. Perry’s belief was that ‘art will get us through this’, and this inspired me to try to learn to draw. I followed Betty Edwards book, Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain, and am amazed at the results. If the museum decides to channel a bit of Grayson Perry and have a lockdown exhibition in real time, maybe I’ll be brave enough to show my efforts.
We are really interested to hear what you took up at home, because it can help shape future collections. What objects should we seek out and bring into the collection to represent Cornish life during lockdown?
Citizen Curator Volunteer.