Tag Archives: design

Make something with your hands TIP 1/7, Series 2

In September I posted a series of tips to help you find your tech/nature balance. They turned out to be pretty popular, so I’m going to share some more.

Every Tuesday for the next seven weeks I will post a weekly tip about Christmas gifts and activities which promote digital wellbeing.

There will be gifts you can enjoy making yourself, as part of your own tech/nature practice, and gifts to buy which the geeky people in your life might enjoy.


make something with your hands
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The first is a simple suggestion that you make some of your gifts yourself.  The illustration here shows a pottery wheel, but of course it could be anything. When did you last spend time and attention on creating something lovely from natural materials? Clay, wood, yarn, fabric, paper, glass, metal…  there are so many ways to handcraft simple gifts using skills we may have learned years, even decades, ago.

For example, this summer I started sewing again. I used to make all kinds of clothes for my daughters and myself, but last August was the first time I’d touched a paper pattern since around 1985. It was fascinating to feel my fingers remember how to pin the fragile sheets of paper onto the material, how to tack in the darts, cut, stitch and assemble. After three decades, I revived the sensations of spinning the wheel of the sewing machine to start it up; of guiding the fabric beneath the foot, and of gently following the curves of the pattern. It was as if a complete process had been unlocked from the chambers of my brain and was  suddenly there again, ready to start up. It was a wonderful feeling, and one I plan to repeat.

Which skills have you left unused for years? Could you revive them now to craft hand-made presents using natural materials? The act of re-engaging that knowledge will not just increase your own tech/nature balance, but will also culminate in a thoughtful (and hopefully beautiful!) gift.   These days, when we can purchase almost anything we need, it is the gifts we don’t buy which can often mean the most. It’s about reconnecting to the physical tangible universe in a world where so much around us is abstract.

If you like the idea, it’s best to start soon because if you’re rusty, you’ll need space to screw up, relearn, and try again. There’s still plenty of time, so be patient and enjoy the pleasures of stimulating those dormant neural pathways!

I hope you enjoy these 7 tips. Right-click on the image to save and share with your friends. Check back on Tuesday for the next one or join my mailing list  to make sure you don’t miss out.


Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital AgeBuying for geeky friends or family? Here’s the perfect fireside read:  Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: how to feel better without logging off.

Human Spaces – excerpt from Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age

Human Spaces is a brilliant resource for information about ‘spaces designed with the human in mind’ so I’m very pleased that they’ve published an excerpt from my new book. Read it here Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age | Human Spaces

Biomimicry: free online course starts 7 March

This free online course at Minneapolis College of Art and Design promises a useful introduction to biomimicry. It’s taught by Cindy Gilbert, director of the online Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

Nature offers boundless inspiration for sustainable design, but how do we access the wealth of biological information available and apply it effectively to design? This course provides an introduction to the tools and principles of biomimicry, a new discipline that emulates nature’s best ideas and blueprints in order to solve human design challenges. Each week you’ll get outside to explore nature and learn a key biomimicry design concept that you’ll then apply to develop a novel biomimetic design.


At the completion of the course, students will have:

  • Defined and applied biomimicry concepts, tools, and principles by creating novel biomimetic designs.
  • Differentiated between nature’s design principles, strategies, functions, and patterns to apply them to human-made designs.
  • Observed nature and conducted research to learn from nature through real-world, outdoor observations.
  • Employed the biological solutions database AskNature.org to serve as a research tool for design challenges.

Source: Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology – Canvas Network | Free online courses | MOOCs

To read more on this topic, see Biomimicry by Janine Benyus.