by Patricia Lakin, author
My father loved fixing things and gifted friends with old objects he’d given a new life. My mother was a knitter and made scarves and mittens for friends and family. I cherish the warm mittens she made for me and inherited both loves; fixing things and knitting.
That is most likely why I grew up with a deep appreciation for handmade things. Being offered the chance to write the Made By Hand series was a joyous project. I could celebrate the makers for each of the objects featured: bicycles, skateboards, steel drums, and guitars. It entailed researching the history of the object, a biography of the maker, and an explanation of the steps needed to make each object. One of the things I learned in writing this series, was how awestruck each maker feels to know they created something by hand.
The objects they make are complex. But what about small, simple things that so many of us can make by hand? A drawing? A stapled-together book? A paperweight made from clay? A decorated cake? A rubber band necklace?
These special trinkets sparked an idea for an interesting writing exercise.
Why not examine and write about a handmade object that you hold dear. Invite friends and family to join in. Then you can share your individual answers.
Ready to give it a try?
- What is the special handmade object that you’ve saved?
Describe it using as many details as possible.
- Who gave it to you?
Explain how you know the person and why it was given? Or, was it something you found? No problem! Write about how you discovered it.
- Why do you value this object?
List the feelings you experience when thinking about this object.
- Now turn it around. What hand-made item have you given or would like to make and offer as a gift?
How did you feel when you finished your handmade project?
How did you feel when your gift was received? [If it hasn’t happened yet, imagine how you will feel in making and giving your trinket.]
- What steps are involved to make your handmade item?
Create a step-by-step instruction guide on how to create your made-by-hand object—even if it’s imaginary!
When you are done, it could be fun to share your answers.
About Patricia Lakin
Patricia Lakin, a former elementary school teacher and an award-winning author, has written more than fifty published works. Her books, both fiction and nonfiction, span multiple age groups—from toddlers to middle graders. Patricia lives in New York City with her husband, Lee Koenigsberg. They have two grown sons, Aaron and Benjahmin. When not reading, writing, or researching, she can be found traveling with Lee to far-off places in the world.