CRE­AT­ING COL­UMN Think of a cre­ative prac­tice as the crafty equiv­a­lent of yoga!

What drives our cre­ative pas­sion and how can we in­cor­po­rate it into our ev­ery­day lives?

In the Moment - - Contents - Words: Cath Dean / Il­lus­tra­tion: Bett Nor­ris CATH DEAN is edi­tor of Mol­lie Makes (www.mol­liemakes.com). She de­scribes her­self as a craft­ing mag­pie, as she’s al­ways look­ing for new ways to ex­press her cre­ativ­ity. Fol­low her craft­ing ad­ven­tures on In­stagr

The ear­li­est cave paint­ings date back more than 35,000 years – which goes to show ex­actly how long hu­man be­ings have been com­pelled to stamp their cre­ativ­ity onto their sur­round­ings. The dic­tionary de nes ‘to cre­ate’ as “to bring into ex­is­tence”. By ex­er­cis­ing our cre­ativ­ity and gen­er­at­ing some­thing hand­made, we’re tap­ping into an al­most pri­mal part of the hu­man psy­che that gives us an in­nate de­sire to make – but why?

By mak­ing some­thing, be it a piece of art, a craft project, or even a beau­ti­fully-com­posed shot on In­sta­gram, we’re cre­at­ing some­thing com­pletely unique. The im­per­fec­tions and quirks make it one-of-a-kind, and that’s a pow­er­ful tool in a mod­ern world of mass pro­duc­tion. Part of the pop­u­lar­ity of craft among a new gen­er­a­tion of mak­ers is a re­ac­tion to the in­stant na­ture of the world around us, driven by the in­ter­net and social media. When ev­ery­thing you could pos­si­bly want is avail­able at the click of a but­ton, there’s a de nite ap­peal in slow­ing down, tak­ing the longer route and pour­ing love into a cre­ative project.

When we cre­ate, we’re also learn­ing about our­selves. Each time we pick up a paint­brush, cro­chet hook or nee­dle and thread, we’re ex­ter­nal­is­ing some­thing within us, which is an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for self-dis­cov­ery. Whether it’s try­ing to get to grips with a new craft, or even nd­ing out some­thing as sim­ple as un­der­stand­ing which medi­ums in­spire you, the op­por­tu­nity to learn some­thing new has a pow­er­ful abil­ity to make you feel good about your­self.

Mak­ing is fun­da­men­tally med­i­ta­tive, too – crafters have been say­ing so for years! There is so much guid­ance out there about how to tap into mind­ful­ness or to learn to med­i­tate, but sim­ple acts of con­cen­trat­ing on a row of tiny stitches or count­ing a cro­chet pat­tern can help achieve a sim­i­lar mind­set with far less e ort. Work­ing on cre­ative projects gives us the op­por­tu­nity to switch o from the day-to-day. It al­lows us to chan­nel our en­ergy into some­thing re­quir­ing that kind of re­laxed con­cen­tra­tion that al­lows your thoughts to come and go, in a way that sit­ting on the sofa and watch­ing TV sim­ply can’t. There are proven men­tal health bene ts to par­tic­i­pat­ing in arts and crafts, and while that’s not to say they’re a cure-all, they can be a fan­tas­tic way to lift your mood.

So, if mak­ing is some­thing that is so im­por­tant to our well­be­ing and sense of self, and has such ob­vi­ous bene ts, why aren’t we do­ing more of it? If you’re any­thing like me, nd­ing time to start that next make or to pick up an on­go­ing project can be a con­stant strug­gle. There al­ways seems to be more press­ing things to take care of – be that run­ning the hoover around, meet­ing up with friends or even just catch­ing up on the lat­est boxset.

Maybe the key is to start think­ing about our mak­ing in the same way we would reg­u­lar ex­er­cise or mind­ful­ness prac­tice – a sort of a crafty take on yoga. By set­ting aside as lit­tle as 15 min­utes a day to add a few more rows to a yarn project, draw a page of doo­dles in a sketch­book or prac­tise brush let­ter­ing, tak­ing time to do some­thing that’s just for you can be in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing. It’s all too easy to feel guilty about tak­ing time away from fam­ily or friends to fo­cus on our­selves, but by do­ing so, it’s of­ten the case that we have so much more en­ergy to give back to oth­ers.

A good way to make sure you hit these daily goals is to nd a way to record them. Set your­self a chal­lenge of work­ing on a cre­ative project ev­ery day for a month – even if just for 10 min­utes. If you can’t com­mit daily, con­sider sign­ing up to a lo­cal craft group – a weekly set day and time is a great way to carve out some time to fo­cus on mak­ing.

De­vel­op­ing some­thing that we’ve cre­ated is as much about nur­tur­ing some­thing in­side our­selves as it is about the act of cre­at­ing it­self. Set aside some time, sit down with a cuppa and get started on your own crafty take on med­i­ta­tion – your mind will thank you for it!

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