29 Jul Digital detox with embroidery on World Embroidery Day
Post-lockdown we at Time To Log Off are encouraging you to put your screens down and engage in some real-world activities. Through our #SummerUnplugged challenge we want to get you out of your doom-scroll-hole and back in the physical world via some digital detox. One of the best ways to stick to your new lifestyle is through finding analogue alternatives to screen time such as – embroidery! So, on World Embroidery Day, 30th July, we’re celebrating all the ways that needlework can help you on the journey to digital wellbeing.
The Royal School of Needlework
We’ve been big fans of the home of beautiful embroidery, The Royal School of Needlework, at Time To Log off since we first recommended one of their courses in a Christmas gift list. The RSN has been promoting the unique benefits of embroidery since 1872 – well before digital devices created a need for embroidery to help a digital detox! They are based at the historic Hampton Court Palace in the UK, and host a myriad of different courses and programmes to teach everyone from beginners through to advanced embroiderers new skills. They even have a degree programme: a BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery Degree validated by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) which enables many keen needleworkers to stretch their wings and work for big names such as Alexander McQueen. They famously worked on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress in their Commercial Embroidery Studio! 30th July is not only World Embroidery Day but also World Friendship Day, very fitting considering the many friendships made through the RSN this year, as courses were taken online in the pandemic and made available to people all across the globe.
The average adult spends 8 hours online every day. We pick up and touch our phone around 2,617 times a day. Since lockdown, we’re spending 70-80% more time on our phones according to Australia’s National Broadband Network. If we want to improve our digital wellbeing, we all need to set aside time for some digital detox. For many of us, the habit of reaching for our phone has become so instinctive we don’t even realise we’re doing it. One of the best ways to fight against this habit is to keep our hands busy. We’re fans of embroidery as a fantastic analogue activity for this. It’s not repetitive and, no matter how good at it you are, you always need to be using both hands – leaving no room for a quick Twitter scroll!
Our brain processes are suffering with all the time we’re spending on screens. Our concentration is deteriorating, our creativity waning and our mental health declining. Embroidery is a perfect antidote for all of this. After WW1, the Royal School of Needlework women actually visited soldiers in hospital and taught them needlepoint. It gave disabled vets something to do, and also helped relieve their post traumatic stress. Some of those soldiers went on to create an altarpiece for St Paul’s Cathedral in London, under the instruction of the RSN. If embroidery was powerful enough for WW1 vets to recuperate with, we’re thinking there must be a lot it can do for us today.
Make something lasting
One aspect of embroidery we particularly like, is that in doing it you create something tangible. So often today our daily life is full of nebulous ideas and activities, that can’t be touched or displayed. But, with embroidery each stitch you make is visible, beautiful and physical. Your work can’t be lost or taken away from you, you must stay in the moment with it. On World Embroidery Day, why not investigate embroidery as an analogue activity to give you a break from your phone this summer? You may just find a new hobby you love.
For more discussion of the intersection between stitching and digital detox listen to our ‘It’s Complicated‘ podcast episode with Shannon Downey from Badass Cross Stitch.
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