on repeat : LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL
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As part of the Office Group and Universal Design Studio's collaborative structure 'The Pavilion of Repitition' for the London Design Festival, Head & Hands was invited to be part of the exciting 'On Repeat" programme of repetitive and mindful workshops hosted in the space.

The striking temporary Shoreditch structure designed by architects Universal Design Studio is an outdoor pavilion constructed with open timber sides, letting the air and light flow freely through the space. The pavilion includes a long wooden workshop table, designed to seat thirty participants. Installed on the ceiling are hundreds of delicate paper forms made my visitors, which billowed above us in the breeze.

The pavilion’s form physically manifests repetition in its architecture but also through a collaborative installation of hundreds of paper forms.

On Repeat will be home to a programme of free events and workshops that explore the power of frequency and repetition, designed to give visitors the opportunity to temporarily depart from everyday work life and reach a free-flowing mind-set.
— universal design studio & the office group

I began by talking about my interests in self care and slow immersive crafts, giving some context to Head & Hands. I then spoke a little about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's theory of Flow; a big influence on my work.

The Hungarian psychologist described the state of Flow as:

being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one.

Csíkszentmihályi identified the following combination of components in experiencing a state of Flow:

  • Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  • A loss of reflective self-consciousness and a sense of 'oneness' with the activity
  • A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  • A distortion of temporal experience - one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  • Experience of the activity as intrinsically and immediately rewarding
  • A balance between ability level and challenge level

A perfect example of a Flow activity is the crafting of an Ojo de Dios. The exercise requires the mastering of new techniques, while the results are immediately visible and continue to develop. This craft is very personal, with each person bringing their unique choice of colours and complexity of design. While crafting an Ojo, the maker becomes instantly absorbed, often losing track of time. It's so interesting to see how different each Ojo looks, some choosing colours which unconsciously match their outfits, appealing to their own personal creativity. Some choose loud palettes while others select more subdued and muted tones. Some create multiple bands of colour, while others choose a more minimal approach.

The workshop was only an hour and it flew by very quickly. Much like the beautiful temporary structure of the pavilion - each Ojo represented a perfect moment in time where we wove repetitively together in an immersed state of Flow, moving freely yet in-sync. Much like the suspended origami creations swaying gently above us.

What a pleasure to be in such an inspiring setting and part of such a fantastic lineup of workshops and talks, from Donna Wilson, Booker Print House, Patternity, Sans Pere and New North Press.

 

amanda wayne
Under The Oak Tree

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July, head & hands well and truly kicked off our summer festivities at the Walthamstow Garden Party.

I started bright and early, setting up the market stall in a sweet little gazebo under an oak tree. As it was my first outdoor market, I had been working on ideas for weeks behind the scenes. With some help from my partner and a trusty saw, I crafted a shelf with the offcuts from the very tall ladder which had made my much loved original shop shelves. I created some wooden hanging signs and decorated the stall with plants and ojo de dios. I brought along a new selection of crystals, plus a curated collection of handcrafted favourites - candles, apothecaries, herbal teas, ceramics, jewellery, oracle decks, incense and macramé. 

This free festival takes place in leafy Lloyd Park Walthamstow over 2 days and is full of musical acts, circus tricks, film screenings, spoken word and dance performers. It attracts thousands of visitors from all over London in their shorts, summer dresses and sandals. It was really special to be part of something so vibrant on my own doorstep. I was situated on Fellowship Island, named after social activist and artist William Morris who famously lived in Walthamstow and once said 'fellowship is life and lack of fellowship is death'.

Fellowship is life and lack of fellowship is death.
— William Morris

Fellowship Island is a lush haven, surrounded by Oak and Willow trees and framed by water. The Island was packed with a diverse mixture of community-minded, wellbeing focused and eco-conscious stalls. From East of Eden yoga studio to Shed Homewares - a reclaimed furniture enterprise, and conscious food growers Organic Lea to Appetite Food Market - full of tasty offerings from local food producers. 

head & hands was proud to join the party with our handmade wares, and from 12-3 a free mindful mandala workshop teaching passers by to weave an Ojo de Dios. This grounding craft attracted a lot of attention and kept us very busy. With help from some friends, Head & Hands taught around seventy people to make one. Many insisted they were just passing through and wanted to quickly try the activity, but soon found themselves engrossed, sat on our colourful blanket weaving away.

Ojo de dios are woven with yarn between wooden sticks in several colours, and are traditionally an ancient contemplative and spiritual practice for many indigenous peoples in the Americas. The practice of making one is repetitive, grounding and meditative; an excellent tool to quiet the mind and reconnect with yourself. It's also a really accessible activity which can be enjoyed by all ages, and the perfect craft to take outdoors.

When I had my little shop, I had memorable conversations daily, and during the Garden Party I was reminded of how much I miss it, having visits from lovely customers old and new. Everyone I spoke with was so encouraging towards head & hands, insisting I should open up my doors once again in a local shop space. It’s so affirming when other people love and believe in what I’m doing and I came away feeling really excited for what's next.

That weekend under the oak tree,  I decided that rather than just wishing for it, I am now manifesting in some permanence for head & hands. Like my customers could see for me, I am visualising head & hands back in a shop space, locally or near enough. A modest size storefront, with a little area to host workshops too. So stay tuned for good things!

- Amanda