I have recently been very fortunate to have run papercraft workshops at Facebook’s Analog Research Laboratory in London. Not only it has been tremendous fun, but it also gave me food for thought around the value of being crafty. It was also an amazing to observe people making my designs, which is not an opportunity I get often.
The Analog Research Lab’s main purpose is to act as an antidote to the company’s digital nature. It is a space for Facebook’s staff to unwind from their daily digital routine and step away from their computer screens. A creative space for them to make things with their hands and appreciate the value of things made by humans. It is an extraordinary concept to find in an equally extraordinary company, but once you’ve peeked into Facebook’s HQ nothing should be surprising!
I appreciate that not many companies have the capacity to provide such facilities for their staff, though I think the positive effect on staff morale, productivity and creativity is not that hard to imagine.
However, this is not just relevant to workplace environments. We all spend far too much time looking into screens and rooted in front of computers, myself including whilst typing this. Most of us have an intrinsic appreciation of things handmade, yet we mostly deny ourselves the joy of making things with our hands.
I wonder to what extend this also impacts people’s appreciation of the physical environment around them as a whole and their attitude towards recycling, upcycling and sustainability. But that is probably a whole different subject.
The benefits of making things with our hands to our general well-being are of course not unique to papercraft and have been demonstrated by makers’ movements around the word. On reflection however, the designs that I produce provide excellent opportunities for sharpening problem-solving skills, learning to make mistakes and rejoice in the unexpected beauty that they often lead to. And that is just me designing!
For the people who take my templates and make wonderful masks with, paper and cardstock are readily available and inexpensive. There is no requirement for special skills or a lot of tools. And most importantly after enjoying the making process, they can have fun with their creations. The possibilities for getting creative and incorporating other media to my mask templates are endless. From as simple as painting, to papier-mâché and fabric, and even electronics!
You don’t necessarily need an opportunity to wear a mask to make one and reap the joy of making, whether it is to simply unwind and step away from your computer or phone screen, spend time with children making something fun, or creating a decorative piece for your wall. You will also find a few pop-up cards here that you can make yourselves. Everyone will appreciate that you put time and effort making one for them!
So go on and make something today!
PS: The Analog Research Lab is a lot more than a creative space in the context of the company’s ideology and workspace environment and runs a varied program of collaborations with artists and designers. You can find more about it here.