Head & Hands was founded on the art of slowing down.
A carefully curated store centred around self care and slow living, it supports small independent makers and artists. Stocking a range of goods and gifts, from ceramics to jewellery, homeware to apothecary, everything is made by loving hands and with good intentions.
Head & Hands also run a number of slow craft workshops to help busy the hands and quiet the mind through artistic practice. Our programme is lovingly referred to as #SlowDownClub and hosts a number of different artists and teachers, making space for them to share skills and wisdom. These take place around London, in likeminded spaces.
We also have sister venue - Holdspace.
Head & Hands is often invited into workplaces, to events and festivals delivering creative wellbeing workshops. We have worked with Adidas studio, Moo.com and The British Library. Take a look here and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, I'm Amanda.
I founded Head & Hands in July 2016. People often tell me I should share my personal story a little more, so here it is.
Now thirty, I live in London with my partner Aimee.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease aged sixteen.
When I was eighteen, I was urgently hospitalised, and after a traumatic few months of being gravely ill, I slowly recovered and made it to art school in London for a year.
I then moved up to Leeds to study graphic arts and design at University, and for three great years I felt well, and almost forgot I had the condition.
In my early twenties, once graduated - my illness begin to take hold again and I battled against numerous flare ups for five years on and off. It was a relentless time, particularly disruptive to my working life. I couldn't seem to sustain good health for more than six months at a time.
Each time that I got ill, I was prescribed seriously strong medication which came with horrible side effects, often as troubling and disruptive as the Crohn's itself.
In 2014, I became very sick again - I was signed off from work and forced to slow everything down and dedicate some serious time for recuperation. It was at this point, struggling with the intense insomnia and anxiety from my medication, that I discovered the healing remedy of slow crafts such as weaving and embroidery. I began to explore the power of mindfulness and grounding self care rituals. I also started journalling and illustrating my lived experiences with Crohn's.
At the time I was working for a small design studio, which had very little regard for the health and wellbeing of it's employees. It was stressful not being able to freely discuss my needs, and hide my condition - often dragging myself in to work when I felt dreadfully unwell. Eventually, I left this job to work in the arts part-time and started working more for myself as an artist educator and designer.
The realisation that nobody else was going to make time and space for my healing was a game-changer for me. Taking charge of my wellbeing by discarding what was no longer serving me, establishing self-care rituals, the healing magic of slow crafts and rearranging my lifestyle a little, helped me finally get back on top of my health after years of being dragged along by it.
I realised that people-pleasing, working exhaustively, and feeling anxious was something of an epidemic. Wanting to help others make time for self-care, I decided to do a course in Indian head massage.
A few weeks after completing my course, I noticed an advertisement in my neighbourhood for a six-month start-up businesses incubator programme.
Quite unexpectedly, I found myself putting together an application. In the process of writing it, the idea for Head & Hands manifested. I lovingly described this vision of a curated store of handmade gifts, a self care sanctuary and workshop space. The concept formed so naturally, nothing had ever felt so instinctive. I was offered the modest retail space, and had only a month to prepare. I ordered stock, built furniture and couldn't quite believe it was happening so fast.
I opened my doors in July 2016 and had a wonderful 6 months. I met so many incredible customers, gave over 100 head massages, ran 12 creative workshops and soon learnt that my little idea of Head & Hands was loved and appreciated by many. I had found something which truly fulfilled me and brought me so much joy.
When the time came to hand back the keys, I built the online store. And here I am now.
The long term dream for Head & Hands is to create a similar sanctuary space again, but for now I continue to do this important work nomadically and online. I know that everything happens exactly when it's meant to - when you can handle it. For now I'm allowing everything to unfold.