If curiosity is something invisible but of value to us all, a challenge we face at The Curiosity Bureau is how do we explore curiosity in tactile and tangible ways?
This summer we undertook a little experiment. The Larmer Tree Festival on the Wiltshire/Dorset borders provided the perfect location for a summer music, comedy and arts and crafts festival. The Curiosity Bureau’s Rebecca Taylor partnered with Lisa Hartland, Head of Art & Design at a school in Leicestershire to create an experience called ‘Socks with Soul’ – an adult-only workshop, turning beloved odd socks into curious characters. Three equally curious folk joined in too and together we facilitated a highly interactive space where over 60 people - a balanced mix of men and women - came together and designed, crafted, shaped, and radically transformed a lonely odd sock into a sock with soul.
Queues began to form for the shady, crafty marquee space and it was soon filled with a buzz of intrigue, anticipation and creativity. This highly motivated interest in participating came from people all over the world. It provided perhaps a small insight into not simply a growing trend of getting arty and crafty but in the desire to feed a tactile curiosity – a space where there is permission to play and take risks, and improvise with your ability to experiment and express through creativity.
We offered three examples with a simple instruction sheet for each sock. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request these instruction sheets – Lovecat (easiest), JUMP (easy), Van (not so easy).
In addition we provided the option to go off-piste - a spot of inspiration to kick start the process. A picnic blanket played host to a play-station, a place where participants could move tops, middles and bottoms around to create a bespoke and unusual looking character.
For the inquiring mind and the kinesthetic and visual learner this was of great help and it provided ownership of possibility and stimulus for their crafty, creative process to be achievable.
As the workshop developed the freedom to explore as you create was important. Embellishments conveyed characterful traits that brought the socks to life, and faults or flaws were encouraged to provide unique features and quirkiness.
Tactile curiosity would appear to be important to people and those curious of what the creation of something means to them. Some were creating gifts for others, others creating memories or reminder toys for themselves to inspire or motivate them in life. Purpose existed but often in a variety of different forms.