Reskilling Quadrant – Crafts and Repairs

Repair and Reuse

Remember to check Freecycle, car boot sales, shop notices and local online forums if you need to acquire or dispose of an item.  You may encounter someone who can do repairs.

The Repair Cafe movement – the international website

Repair Cafe Bristol has a Facebook page, like many small local groups.  These are often even more ephemeral than websites, though a lot cheaper.

Free repair guides and manuals supplied and updated by site users – a huge variety of products described!

A useful book on fixing machinery

Advice on clothes repair for beginners

Practical Skills

Learn to crochet.  It’s useful to watch tuition videos – if these ones don’t appeal, you can find plenty more on a search.

Crochet Geek – a whole channel devoted to crochet!

Hectagoona1 – I used this one to learn the basics.  Take your crochet out to cafes, on public transport.  An elder may take pity on your attempts and give you some tips!

Or try knitting.  Here’s a really ambitious winter project for your Resilience Plan; these patterned socks from Norway

amazing socks from Norway

Lots of useful information on a variety of crafts if you’re considering which one to try

For home projects and repairs, the classic Readers’ Digest DIY manual is a good all-round resource.  The old edition is fine for amateur use.

And, of course, there are the outdoor survival crafts.  I learned the basics of nettle twine making – strong enough for bowstrings and fishing lines – from these people.

Make sure you use basic tool care!


Local Materials

It’s useful to know the history of your local area. It will tell you what trades and occupations were common in the past. This site gives advice for teachers looking at the Victorian era. Although much information is archived, it can be time consuming to read through the original census details, trade catalogues and so on.

Many of these are stored at the National Archives in Kew, London

Charles Booth was a philanthropist who gathered data on work and poverty in London, publishing nine volumes of detailed notes between 1892 and 1897

It’s difficult to find out about local materials directly, especially if they are no longer valued. You’ll have to play detective; start with the Wikipedia entry for your county

Here’s a site which has important information about the history of Somerset; if you make a search about your own area, you should be able to find similar resources


Local Business

The decline of the High Street as a focus for local businesses

Money used to be spent in the local area, to such an extent that many town banks issued their own currency

The story of a modern local currency in Germany

There are vivid descriptions of the decline of local economies in the writings of Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, which promotes a more resilient way of life. From the days when nearly everyone not directly employed in growing food was working at some kind of craft, we have arrived at a place where most people in this country can do neither. To achieve resilience, this must change

A report by Friends of the Earth about the impact of supermarkets on communities.

and an analysis from Time magazine of the technical processes involved when money stays in the local economy.

Buy gifts from local crafters – try this site for products from the Wessex area

“Just because it’s cheaper, does it really cost less?” The hazards of shoddy items.

The role of online shops and virtual High Streets in revitalising local economies

For more everyday items,  you could form community buying groups within established organisations, such as schools and spiritual centres, to explore methods of supporting local crafts and repairs. Items which you don’t use very often – a lawn edging tool or a plumbers’ wrench for example – could be bought communally and shared, thus enabling the higher price to be paid for quality tools rather having to each buy a cheap version.