When I set out on my craft business journey my aim was to combine something I love with trying to make a few pennies so I didn't need to rush back to the corporate world. What I've learnt however is the massive benefits that craft has on mental health and talking with people who have joined my workshops over the summer prompted me to look into it further. In this very strange and uncertain world, having something to do which focuses the mind, keeps you busy and gives you a sense of achievement can work wonders, and whilst it may not fix everything research shows that it does make a difference and craft is perfect for this. So many people hear the word craft and assume that it's just for children but that's not true there is a whole multitude of adult crafts, and actually crafts that both adults and children alike can enjoy. You don't need to be overly creative, and at the end of the day it doesn't matter if your finished product looks exactly like it does in the box. What's important is the journey, the joy you get from trying something new and the achievement of creating something yourself.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
We all know the importance of eating our 5 a day and undertaking regular exercise for our physical health, but how much time do we spend focusing on our mental health, exercising and relaxing our brain. I personally know that taking on a new crafting challenge whether that be knitting, sewing, felting or something else is great for my mental health and helps me relax - particularly after a stressful day with the kids. There is something special about creating items with your hands whilst learning new techniques. Craft gets me away from my phone and tv screen for a few hours and I have a great sense of pride at the end with something to show for my efforts. Here's just a summary of what I think you can gain from crafting. Something to focus on: Craft generally requires some level of concentration, which means it provides a great distraction from whatever else is going on in our lives which in turn gives our brains a chance to relax. Repetitive action: In general there's a fair amount of repetition in craft, whether that's placing mosaic tile, stabbing felting wool or sewing stitches. This is surprisingly therapeutic and a great way to help you unwind. A sense of achievement: There's a lot to be said for achieving something to make you feel more positive. Taking a pile of materials and turning them into something which you can treasure comes with a large amount of satisfaction, and the item you make will still be there in the weeks, months and years to come.
Education & Development
Craft is great for all ages and provides great cognitive skill development and many educational benefits. The variety and variability of crafting drives advancement of core skills as well as creative development. For children, craft is a great introduction to problem solving and creativity. I can see my children problem solve and learn as they craft, on reflection I can actually see the same challenges and learning when I take on a new craft project. From the physical developments of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills though to skills such as counting and even improving patience every craft provides something different. In additions to the creative, mathematical and dextral learning, along with reading and understanding instructions, craft can be a great way to engage in wider subjects. For example when studying the Romans as part of KS2 history, why not actually create a mosaic and understand the processes and materials used to build them. There are also great developmental benefits which can be seen in the older generations. Keeping active helps retain dexterity and with it independence. Craft also helps keep the mind switched on an engaged.
Find Out More
If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of craft there are some great articles on the following sites. 'The health benefits of craft' by www.craftcourses.com mental health benefits of craft, from www.craftscouncil.org.uk The Importance of Art and Craft in the School Curriculum. I hope that through Crafty You Crafty Me I can provide people the materials and inspiration to try a new craft to start or continue their creative journey. My motivation is driven by trying to add a little joy and relaxation to the world, particularly during these strange lockdown times, by spreading the love of craft.