This year, like lots of other people, I'm going to try to make my own Christmas presents. It's not the first time that I've promised myself this. Being a milliner, and an all-round crafty type, I've often thought I should put my money where my mouth is. But this year I'm really going to stick to it. It's partly that I'm short of cash, but also that I've recently returned from an inspiring trip around Britain, looking into "make do and mend" for BBC2's Newsnight.
I dreamed up the trip a few months ago. The thought of traveling the country--making things as I went, meeting artists and craftspeople--sounded like the perfect way to spend the summer. I'd pack a tent and a sewing machine and off I'd go. But by the time I finalized my plans and hit the road, leaves were already crunching under foot. It seemed crazy to camp with winter on the way; instead, Newsnight viewers offered me board and lodging in return for help with a craft task. There was an overwhelming response.
My tasks ranged from darning (缝补) a moth-eaten monk's jumper to making trousers for a stilt walker. Textile students in Harpenden offered to pay for my petrol in return for a talk about hats. In Derby, Amy needed help to transform an old pair of curtains.
I was really struck by people's growing enthusiasm for making things. I asked a WI group in Sheffield how many could sew, and only a few put up their hands. But when I asked who wanted to learn, nearly everyone responded positively. At the Textile Workshop in Nottingham, the number of classes on offer has doubled in a year, and a knitting club in Leeds is growing by the week.
Craft is definitely fashionable at the moment. But over and above fashion, we're learning to appreciate effort and quality again. Perhaps once people rediscover the pleasure to be gained from making something unique, it may stick.
Sue Pilchard is curator (管理者) of quilts at the V&A, where next spring she'll be putting on the museum's first major quilting exhibition. Sue believes the return to crafting is wrapped up in how we are redefining ourselves. "There's certainly a movement.., towards a new domesticity. People, especially women, are starting to think about the way they live their lives. It's 40 years since the first women's liberation conference was held in Oxford. Since that time we've been in the workplace, and we've had the opportunity of choice. Now we're deliberately choosing to go back into the home."
Whether you agree with that or not, there's something about Christmas that brings out the artistic streak in everyone. Whether it's baking mince pies or decking the halls, we're all prepared to have a go. So if you fancy pushing the boat out and making a few presents, try these really simple ideas, each inspired by my recent journey. They make ideal stocking fillers or small gifts, and take no longer than 30 minutes each. Play some carols, settle down with a steaming cup of cocoa, and forget the cold. You'll save yourself a bit of money and spread a little bit of love too!
1. The author promised to make herself a Christmas present this year mainly because
A. she wanted to save money.
B. she couldn't afford to buy one.
C. she was inspired by her trip for a BBC2 program. D. A lot of people make presents themselves.
2. Which of the following is CORRECT about the author's trip to Britain?
A. She met many artists and craftsmen on her way to Britain.
B. She spent a whole summer in Britain making crafts.
C. She was asked to sew clothes, pants and curtains and made a fortune.
D. Many people were found to be interested in making things themselves.
3. When was the author probably on her trip to Britain?
B. Late Summer.
C. Late Autumn.
4. According to the passage, through crafting people learn to
A. appreciate the efforts in manual things.
B. keep up with fashion.
C. stick to something interesting.
D. understand craft better.
5. What is the author's view on homemade Christmas presents?
A. Making Christmas presents can just convey a bit of your love.
B. It would take long time to prepare a Christmas present.
C. You can drink a cup of hot cocoa when you make preparations.
D. People can find their artistic talent in making Christmas presents.