Saturday, 18 March 2017

The importance of making

Knitting a pair of socks against a backdrop of teacups

In this post, I wanted to explore what creativity and making means to me and why I find it one of the best ways to bolster my resilience when life feels like hard work.

I have chronic pain which can feel debilitating, limiting and outright frustrating at times, Over the years though, I have come to realise that fueling my creativity is hugely beneficial to my well-being and sense of self.  Whether it's choosing colours for a future make, taking a blank page of a sketchbook and filling it, writing a blog post or starting out with a skein of yarn not knowing what I'll make it with, creativity and imagination have no barriers or boundaries and when embraced, feel hugely empowering and stimulating. I have found exploring my creativity at home has made more flexible and resilient in my day job too; my first instinct now is to look around a problem, peer underneath it, explore the options, and (often literally) sketch out a way forward.

Then there's the process of making itself. Many crafters recognise the therapeutic value of making and this is certainly true for me. I find the process of crochet, knitting and sewing completely absorbing. When I'm concentrating on the work in my hands, the construction of the stitch or the feel of the yarn running through my fingers, I feel the preoccupations and frustrations of everyday life slipping away. For me, the process of making is empowering too; I might not be able to walk terribly far and some days find even the simplest tasks very painful but give me some yarn and I can whip up a pretty shawl or create a beautiful garment without a problem. I find this hugely important; it gives me a real strength and resilience to face the inevitable challenges that come my way. I feel so much better when I find time to make everyday...

When I became a mum five years ago there were (at least!) two things I was determined to do; I wanted to give our son the gift of reading before he went to school and, create an environment for him at home where he could explore his creativity and let it flourish. From a very young age, he's had his own craft resources that he can access independently. For full disclosure, I have to say that poster paints were excluded from this! At every opportunity, my husband and I have enabled his making - our conservatory has a sizeable collection of junk models to prove the point - and as the years have passed, we have seen his skills develop, imagination fly and his confidence blossom as he experiences the buzz of realising his creative visions.

I hope that by giving our son these opportunities to develop his creativity and make everyday, we are giving him the confidence, skills and resilience he'll need to cope with life's challenges too.

As a footnote - it turned out that our little boy was as keen as me that he should be able to read before starting school. He's discovered that reading opens doors to whole new worlds and crucially, enables you to read Mister Maker books and get ideas for future projects!

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