Hi, I'm Rakhee, a designer, maker and breaker of things. I live with bipolar and all the highs and lows that come with it.
Mental health has always been a taboo subject, but, fortunately, things seem to be changing for the better. Not quick enough though; it's easier to get life insurance as a smoker than it is if you have mental health challenges!
Having an Indian heritage made me more hesitant to get help as I knew illnesses like bi-polar, epilepsy etc. were seen as 'possession' so I had little hope of explaining what was going on inside my head.
Fortunately, I sought help, and after several years of trial and error, finding medication that worked for me, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), talking therapies, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming), and exercise to release happy hormones I came across Designs in Mind. A working studio that supports adults with mental health challenges.
I learnt the value of making for the mind, slowing down, focusing on challenging myself creatively, appreciating the process rather than rushing to a polished end result.
This is how the idea of the loom came about; my time in the studio was a balm, I wanted to take the feeling home with me. I created the loom as a way to bridge the gap between studio time and time at home. Making for the mind at home helped me switch off, whilst being productive.
Having 2 kiddies, it wasn't long before the looms found new owners, both girls would sit and make things for their dolls or friends. The youngest struggled with the gaps between the threads - her little fingers couldn't get the needle through the warp threads. The solution was simple: make them wider. It helped her develop her fine motor skills.
Initially, I made a batch of 25 kits using a very temperamental laser cutter. Fortunately, they were all snapped up, and I was able to thank the studio that helped me by giving them the profits to help others.
I'd like to make more to help encourage others to work with their hands to help their minds. Ideally, I'd be able to make larger packs for classrooms, to help children with anxiety, improve their motor skills, enable them to talk about anything that may be troubling them in a relaxed atmosphere.
The packages could also be used in care homes. Those who couldn't follow a knitting pattern due to forgetfulness or like me not being able to read knitting patterns could work with the looms, being lightweight would help both the young and old users, plus those in between who may want to use it on the train or plane or anywhere else for that matter.
The money raised will enable me to buy a reliable laser cutter that would cut the looms first time around making it environmentally friendly (rather than having to cut each loom twice). It would also allow me to increase production as I'd always have access to the laser, making use of the days, or rather nights of insomnia.
Worried about plastics and pollution? Well there's no need with these kits as each loom is made from Perspex that's had a previous life. We all know it's good to recycle but it's even better to reuse resources and that's exactly what I do, thanks to a partnership with Pennant.
By supporting this campaign you'll be weaving hope and unravelling stigma from mental health, helping me help big and little humans work with their hands and support Designs in Mind as I promise to continue donating to them which each sale plus donate kits with each Buy One Give One.