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Why You Should Make Crafting YOUR New Year's Resolution - The benefits and perks of crafts.
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Happy New Year everyone! Have you managed any Christmas crafting?

Now is the time that most people (me included) are thinking about resolutions, words of the year or other ways in which to alter the course of their every day life for the better.  It is a time of “Fresh Starts”.

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I strongly believe that including crafting in your lives is a great resolution to make. I thought I would make one of my resolutions to explain why!

Well, here we go…

Did you know creativity is good for your health?

In our modern world we are always on the go. We work long hours, run around after our kids in what little spare time we have and go to bed at night with our minds whirling and the worries of the day looming. According to the Mental Health Foundation 1 in 4 British people will experience a mental health problem during the course of a year. To me, this shouts that something should change.

We need to give ourselves the tools to not only survive life, but flourish. Breathing space is essential. Click To Tweet

In 2004 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Positive Psychologist at the Quality of Life Research Centre, Claremont Graduate University, California) gave one of the early TED talks on “Flow, the secret to happiness”.

 

He uses a graphic to illustrate his research over a period of years which clearly indicates that as the average income rises, happiness doesn’t!

He has studied creative people such as artists and composers and this has led him to his belief in “Flow”. This is a point, when you are engaged in doing something creative, as he puts it.

“when you are really involved in this completely engaging process of creating something new, as this man is, he doesn’t have enough attention left over to monitor how his body feels, or his problems at home. He can’t feel even that he’s hungry or tired. His body disappears, his identity disappears from his consciousness, because he doesn’t have enough attention, like none of us do, to really do well something that requires a lot of concentration, and at the same time to feel that he exists”

Flow requires challenge in the task & enough skills to achieve it. Crafts provide this in bucket loads! Click To Tweet

It is, in a nutshell, what the trend for mindfulness is all about. Just look at the huge popularity of adult colouring books at the moment. This really underscores the point that the brain NEEDS a creative outlet, even for those who don’t think they are at all “creative”.

If you pass on crafting skills (whatever your method) you leave a legacy.

Think about what we have left of ancient civilisations.  It is usually their art, their sculpture, their jewellery and architecture.  If we are lucky their writings or music. Creative pastimes all of them.  No legacy is left behind of how good they were at bringing home money or riding a horse.  Creation is the legacy that civilisations leave behind.

What will we leave for future generations of archaeologists?

On a more mundane note I have had huge fun doing creative things with my children. It has passed on problem solving skills, love of beauty, appreciation of artistry and (sometimes) valuable skills that should be preserved for future generations.  I really think that sewing a button on, making a greetings card or baking a cake are skills that our society will need and want for a long time to come (alongside new and advancing technology).

Friends who passed on crafting skills to their kids evangelise on freedom gained by kids amusing themselves! Click To Tweet

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been grateful for childhood knitting or embroidery lessons and cursed the fact that I didn’t continue them as I became a teenager.  A major opportunity lost!

Luckily with the advent of You Yube, Blogs and social media the skills are there to be learnt with a walk of fingers across the keyboard.  Crafts have evolved and embraced the digital age.

Technology has led to its own issues as we become addicted to our gadgets. Experts are now encouraging us to “unplug” from technology and spend time away from our phones and computers. What better way to spend this time than crafting? Plus you have the added bonus of a garment, a picture or other useful artefact at the end on the process.

Those who follow the Il Magpie Facebook page will know that I was really impressed  and shared Sarah Hazell’s decision to spend 15 minutes a day hand sewing a piece of patchwork. That 15 minutes can take place anywhere, in the car waiting for kids to finish scouts, on a daily commute or in front of the TV in the evening but that 15 minutes will give her time to unwind and become absorbed in something outside here daily grind.

I often knit or crochet on car journeys (doable, despite travel sickness) and this cures boredom and allows me to process the events of the last few days. It’s like a mini holiday!

I founded Il Magpie to give people the chance to breathe, to relax and forget their worries.  I try to give workshop attendees (and indeed readers) the confidence and skills to tackle new things. They can go home with something they can be proud of and if it is a jumping off point for further crafting adventures so much the better.

Albert Einstein once said “Creativity is intelligence having fun”.

I'm crafting loads of fun & the more of us that do, the better. Who knows we may just craft a saner world! Click To Tweet

 

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