July 6, 2022

Make, do and mend

Being of a certain age, I’m pretty sure the reason this phrase has stuck in my memory is that I’m only a generation away from the original audience for it.

The poster, issued by The Board of Trade in the UK over 80 years ago, seems to be when it was first coined (or at least framed) into the language.

I’m also sure the reason it occurred to me now is that very many people are facing real hardship (sure, not in the existential way they might have when this poster was being pasted up) and having to stretch household budgets is a painful fact of modern life, with all its cruel unintended consequences.

Our economic predicament, of inflation and impending (to some forecasters) recession that might accompany it most likely bumped the memory of the turn of phrase to the front of my mind.

But let’s be clear here that I have no intention to make light of this here. The thought behind writing this came from reading a review about the Museum of Making and what a rare activity ‘making’ is today.

Hence the slight grammatical intervention of a simple comma into the line as an encouragement to have a go – to make, do and mend – and to acknowledge where this threads seed was discovered.

My challenge to you is to see how you can bring ‘making’ into more of what you do.

Don’t think of it as some kind of hallowed crafting. See it as thinking with your hands. The universal cut-n-paste software metaphor is based on scissors and glue (or rather Swann and Newton scalpels and No.22 blades and spray mount – terrible stuff but so much nicer that {eww} cow-gum.)

And definitely don’t worry about the result. The more you make, the more ideas you’ll have, the more you do the better you’ll get at looking at things in paper, card, bits of old metal, all kinds of odds and ends.

And on that note, tomorrow I’m off to a sign company who have been doing exactly that – making prototypes (but with a good deal more finesse than I can muster!)

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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