Comfort & Calm
Ifound myself in the company of a harakeke weaver recently and she o ered to teach me how to make a basket. I accepted the invitation though I was also a little fearful. This is because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and for years I’ve told myself that I’m not good at craft, which is silly because you don’t know unless you try. Weaving the leaves together – under and over, over and under – I found myself entering a meditative state. A deep sense of calm.
Good feature writer Maddie Ballard explains the psychology of crafting on page 14, confirming that craft activities come with a whole host of psychological benefits. Craft activities can not only help you unlock a ‘flow’ state, they can also provide a great distraction from anything stressful you might have going on.
The same can be said for sewing. Hobby ‘sewist’ Jeanette Hayes (featured on pages 16 to 21) describes the process perfectly: “At every stage of sewing a garment, right from cutting the fabric out and actually sewing it up, to putting the finishing touches on, all you can concentrate on is what you’re doing. You can’t think about the extraneous things that are happening in your life, it’s a very meditative process.”
Then comes the feeling of satisfaction and sense of achievement. My little basket was far from perfect with lots of uneven gaps on completion, but it was still good enough for carrying objects and I was very happy with it.
This all occurred at Parohe Island Retreat on Kawau Island, though the weaving was not on the o icial programme because the wonderful weaver was, like me, a guest.
The sense of community and new friendships formed through shared dinners over the three-day retreat was heart-filling and reminded me of how food can bring people together. If you haven’t already twigged, craft and food are the overarching themes of this issue for all the above reasons!
Within these pages you’ll find comforting chicken dishes by Nici Wickes (pages 56 to 61) and divine desserts from Annabel Langbein (pages 52 to 55) including The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache, probably her most popular recipe. All these recipes are absolute winners when it comes to delivering on easy prep and fantastic flavours.
We hope you tuck in and enjoy this issue as much as we have putting it together.