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?
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!