Tiny Paradise Reflections: The Workshop

Last month we held our biggest ever Kokedama workshop in Waverley Library. We had 22 people from all ages and backgrounds coming from near and far, with the one shared interest of wanting to learn how to make a kokedama. 

There was amazing energy in the room, everyone left with a huge smile and one girl even gave me a massive hug.  I have to admit was slightly taken aback, but embraced the situation, literally. 

I reflected on why there was was so much positivity in the room, as I have a feeling that it wasn't just the outcome that made everyone so energised. So here are the other reasons I think caused for the positive kokedama vibes.

Talking to strangers

Striking up conversation with someone you know nothing about can spark many different opportunities. Within the workshop, people were encouraged to help one another, solving each other's problems. Whether it was helping get the soil consistency right, cutting string for each other or just passing the moss, it opened up a conversation that wouldn't have happened otherwise. People left having made new friends and connections that they would not normally have made. People were able to learn a little bit about someone's life and maybe inspiring our own in the process, random connections were made and a feeling of belonging was generated.

It is rare that we feel comfortable talking to strangers, we are told from a very young age to not talk to strangers, as they may offer us sweets and kidnap us never to be seen again. This would definitely be bad, however now being fully grown adults it is a shame we don't feel comfortable to strike conversation with the person sitting next to us on the bus for no reason at all, potentially learning something new or opening our minds to something different. 

Opportunities to talk to strangers and get to know the people who live on your street have become rarer. We have fallen into the habit of scrolling through other people's lives on our phones rather than being in tune with the people that are around us, physically in the real world.


Getting your hands dirty

Another reason that I have pondered, is the fact that through making kokedamas, you are allowed to get very very messy. Many people in the class commented on how good it was to get their hands dirty as normally they work at a desk everyday with the only thing they touch is the keys on the keyboard or their smartphone.

There is something so therapeutic about using our hands to craft. We aren't given the opportunity to use our hands to craft as much as our ancestors were so when we do it can be an amazing experience.  


Switching off from the world

It's impossible to make kokedamas and use your phone, the soils and moss all over your fingers just makes it impossible to swipe.  So, workshops are a perfect way to disconnect in order to re-connect. People didn't touch their phones for over 2 hours (apart from to brag about their creations on instagram afterwards) and this enabled them to remain utterly focused at the task at hand. 

It is rare that we don't look at our phones for over 2 hours and somehow it makes you feel so much freer and more productive.

So the 3 things you will also get from a workshop besides a beautiful kokedama are:

  1. Getting to know some strangers
  2. Getting your hands dirty
  3. Switching off from the world

However if you can't attend a workshop with us, and you still want to feel the benefits, I encourage you to try the following: 

Talk to strangers, and ask them a question about their lives, be open to others rather than assuming all strangers are bad (unless of course they do offer you sweets and ask you to get in the back of their car, then politely walk away instead).

Make something with your hands, whether its a homemade card, potting a plant or even making a cake. Your hands will be thankful, they want to do more than type, swipe and like. Get on Pinterest and have a crafternoon with your mates and engage those digits of yours. 

Switch off once in a while. Look around you rather than down at your screen. You'll notice you are more productive, focused and won't walk into people as much.