The Crafting Guide to Mindfulness
As someone who loves being crafty, you’re probably well aware of how relaxing crafting can be - the happiness of getting out a project bag or squirrelling away to a craft room for a few hours to lose yourself in your latest project. Focusing on a craft often puts us in a state of ‘flow’, having complete concentration on what you’re working on and being fully in the moment. When you’re thinking ‘how do I want to shape this, where does this stitch go, how do I want this to look?’ you’re not thinking the bundle of other thoughts that run through your head each day; crafting is a gift to ourselves to pause and just be.
This isn’t only conventional wisdom amongst crafters - studies by the American Journal of Public Health have shown that crafting reduces stress and anxiety and boosts positivity and connectedness.
So while I’m not going to suggest you eat a raisin (it’s a mindfulness thing) or hug a ball of wool (although that does sound kinda nice), here’s some ways you can actively encourage more mindfulness and relaxation into your crafting.
Use Your Senses
We’re working with our hands, and a huge part of what makes crafting so wonderful is the tactile connection we can have with the materials and tools we work with. The next time you pick up a project, take a moment to really feel the texture of the fabric or materials. How does the embroidery hoop or paintbrush feel in your hand? Use all your senses to appreciate what you’re creating with.
One of our most popular tutorials was how to make bathbombs; the texture of mixing together the dry ingredients (a little like an apple crumble topping) combined with the heady scent of lavender oil is always a winner!
Rhythm & Repetition
Some crafts - especially when you’re trying something new or complicated (I’m looking at you, crochet!) - take a little concentration to begin, but once you have the hang of them you can get into a lovely rhythm of repetition.
Whilst we love the moment you finish and can admire a completed project, there’s something gratifying about falling into the process of making and not rushing towards the outcome.
For example, you could try knitting, weaving or slow stitching to really relax down into a project.
At the other end of the scale, setting aside some time at the kitchen table to try a completely new craft can be utterly captivating.
Anyone else forgotten to feed their family because they got enthralled in a new project? (We won’t tell).
When you focus on a new activity, or on a detail within something you know well, you’re switching off from everything else around you and giving it your complete concentration. Hello flow! So if there’s a craft you’ve always wanted to try and weren’t sure how to, grab the materials or a good craft kit and give it a go. Many kits now come with tutorial videos, so if you get stuck, you can see exactly how to master your new skill.
Or Just Have A Good Natter
Another cracking way to reduce stress and anxiety is to have a good belly laugh with relaxing company.
Crafting and blethering are great companions, so why not get together with your favourite crafty friends for a knit & natter (you don’t have to knit); it’s the perfect way to catch up, put the world to rights and eat lots of cake - all while moving a project along or learning new crafts from each other.
Put It Into Practice
If you’d like to hear more from Moira you can join her each day at the Fair at Ragley Hall this May for some creative fun.
Join Moira in the Grand Make to create a beautiful Blossoming Paper Flower, and get into the relaxing rhythm of stitching notebooks together in the Handbound Kraft Notebook Skills Workshop. Why not come and join us - we’d love to see you there! Moira is the founder of the craft kit subscription box Craftiosity Psst… we’ve arranged a special treat for Handmade Fair readers, you can get £5 off your first Craftiosity subscription box - just use the code HANDMADEFAIR at checkout. Valid until 30 June 2018. Enjoy!