Mental wellbeing for young people

< Back to Things I can try

Making your own labels

Viktor, 16 photo Viktor, 16 · 06 Aug, 2020

Viktor has spent lockdown making stuff. And in particular, badges. Here they explain why it helps and tell us about the ones that mean the most.

Hello, I'm Viktor, a 16 year old trans masculine person, and during quarantine I started a quarantine sketchbook project. I wanted to do something like this to document my experiences in the only medium I really know how: art

Some of the challenges of lockdown have been keeping creative, but healthily -- I get burnt out pretty easily (because I have a habit of doing too much), and so developing a healthy working system was difficult but necessary. Creativity and art, at this point, is a coping mechanism for me and a way to express myself, so developing a project that didn't have any time constraints and I could work on in the background was pretty important.

I decided to make a set of badges.

This badge project was important because the idea of badges and patches being used as a way to represent identity meant that I could have a greater input into what labels I want to own. I also just like getting to create my own things, so by extension this gives me the ability to better label and express myself as a human being -- I wanted something I could wear and use on the regular, and while artwork can express you, you can't carry it around on the daily.

I started off with my own set of badges from the last year of secondary school, and I drew them.

Let me explain a couple of them.

The TEDed Badge is because I helped with hosting a TEDed club after school on Tuesdays for a year. It’s probably my biggest achievement from the entirety of my school life, mostly because it helped my development of confidence through making a speech about a topic I'm passionate about and delivering it. The topic I spoke about was transgender issues -- this is because I myself am trans masculine, and, (since my secondary school was a girls school), I wanted to bring attention to something that is usually disregarded in such an environment, as well as an official "coming out" of sorts.

The Music For Youth badge was to commemorate the time I got to play steel pans in front of thousands of people in the Royal Albert Hall. It was a brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our band should be there this year, but because of covid-19, we can’t go. So last year’s experience was that much more special.

Here are the new badges I made – and I’ll explain a few of them. I made them as a way of expressing the things that have been important to me in lockdown.

This is the Alumina logo, which is a community of sorts for teenagers who struggle with self-harm. I included this as a badge because of how much it helped me during quarantine.

The embroidered tenor clef is there because I taught myself to read the tenor clef on cello in lockdown.

I made the flame badge in memory of someone.

The swan is the first embroided brooch I made with my new embroidery hoop. It represents the piece “La cygne” by Saint-Saëns that I learnt on cello.

There are a few others that relate to some of my friends, and to Dungeons and Dragons (which I love).

It's been really important to me to mark this strange time, and spending so much time on this project has really helped.


How to get through when your plans fall apart

How to get through when your plans fall apart


When one night changes your life

When one night changes your life