Creating Calm through Crafts

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I’m making a skirt for a friend of mine. She’s turning 2, (so it’s a small skirt, heehee) and the party is this weekend. I’m a bit behind in my sewing and was starting to feel a bit of stress that I wouldn’t get it finished in time.

Then I realized that it wasn’t so much about getting it done on time, it was the yearning to get my hands back on the beautiful, snuggly fabric and my foot back on the sewing machine pedal! I LOVE to sew! There are many reasons why, but one of the best is that my brain is purely focused on the task at hand. No noise and clutter in there when the iron is steaming away and the needles are flying! It’s the same reason I love to garden. Clear, quiet mind.

Then I remembered an article I read a few years ago in a Martha Stewart mag. The author was Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti, an embroidery artist and writer. Even though it was short and sweet, it had an impact. She talked about the connection between crafting and other pleasurable, very focused activities and well-being. To paraphrase a psychologist she interviewed; when we create (craft or garden or cook, etc.) our mid-brains become engaged by the activity and the temporal lobe can’t focus on the usual anxieties that plague most of our brains relentlessly. And viola! Calmness settles in.

There is much research and many interesting articles out there with much more science behind them then my little blog post, but I thought I’d try to inspire you all to get back to that project you put down last year. Or take a class that you’ve been putting off. Write that poem, crochet that blankie! Or just fix the button on your favorite coat. It’s all important. We’re hibernating here in this deep, dark winter, we might as well be creating calm!


P.S. Check out, a U.K. organization that works on helping folks with depression and other health issues enhance their well being through knitting. VERY cool!

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