Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why do you DIY? (We Scout Wednesday, Scoutie Girl)

This is the question Tara Gentile is asking today over on Scoutie Girl.  I make because I am.  It is as simple as that.  At a pure, basic level, when I make, when I create something with my hands I feel like I am doing what I was born to do.  I do not mean this to sound boastful or proud.  This is not where the declaration springs from.  It goes much deeper than some surfasic emotion.

Beyond all of this though there is the element of pure practicality about being a DIYer.  This moment  was made abundantly clear to me when I was called from the depths of my rural existence here in France for a photo shoot for a rather important British newspaper magazine in London.  The usual female cry went up - 'what am I going to wear!'.  However, this was rather compounded by the fact that most of my possessions were in storage, somewhere in a warehouse in England.
The night before..
It was then I remembered I had some fabric that I had bought on a trip to Paris.  It was actually curtain fabric but I decided it could be a dress (along the lines of Carrie in the Dior newsprint dress in SATC - I know, I know, but hey, we can all dream a little).  I knew it was going to be a little tricky.  It is the kind of project that you know could turn out well or really really badly.
I got to work.  By late that night I had my dress.  I was ready for my 'close up' (if a little tired).
London, Paddington, 2009 by Julian Hakes
When we (the photograph was to be taken with my husband, Julian Hakes) got to the site the photographer was really pleased to have obtained clearance to take the shot on the top floor of one of the towers under construction.  This was news to Julian and I as we had actually envisaged the shot being taken down on the canal side.

It did cross my mind that perhaps a smart trouser suit would have been a little more practical for climbing up the two sets of ladders that led to this windy spot (the steel cage lift did not go all the way to the top) but really, I loved the quirky dress, and besides, I didn't have any patterns for that kind of outfit.  

It actually felt rather like it was the right dress for the right location.  For the photos we were actually allowed to take all the safety gear off (although, to be honest, I think they perfectly accessorise this outfit).
Standing looking across London it was a powerful feeling to be wearing jewellery and clothing made with my own two hands.  

And that is why I DIY.


  1. Stumbled upon you via 'Pia' (in Amsterdam), and must say your work is stunning and agree - way too much orange on Etsy! Where are you in France? I live near Lille...

  2. Linda, we are in Longeville-sur-mer in the Vendee and thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I love Pia's blog, it's where I go for a tea break.


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