Yesterday, I went to The Foundling Museum for lunch with a group of people. They have a wonderful cafe in Bloomsbury that’s well worth knowing about if you don’t fancy a generic menu in a chain restaurant. And after your food, you can poke around the museum for free.
The Foundling Museum is a bit sad, but also uplifting. The Foundling Hospital was established in 1741 as Britain’s first home for abandoned children. They would be treated severely, within the cultural perameters of the time, but the hospital helped establish the concept that society had a duty of care to all its children.
There was an exhibition of children’s school shirts with name tags. The tags carried quotes from contemporary children of cruel things that had been said to them. Yeah, sad – especially with those grubby collars.
But kind of not sad, also. Anything that enables people to express themselves, without fear of retribution or judgement, can only be a good thing.
These shirt tags and their messages reminded me of sewing, which can be a powerful way of making a statement. It strikes me that dressmaking (or knitting or crochet) often empowers people. Those with poor body image or a history of eating disorders, others who simply don’t want to conform to a perceived norm, or even people stuck in a jail cell. Writing something down when you can’t say it out loud, or sitting at a sewing machine instead of in a therapy room are both forms of healing. I think. I think I think – my thoughts are muddled! But making things is one of the best methods of self-love there is. I definitely know that.
What do you reckon?