Time flies doesn't it? I can't believe It has now been a full year since the first lockdown started, though in some ways it feels like this way of life has been with us much longer than a year. I have seen the situation having a tremendous impact on peoples wellbeing and mental health over the past year.
The past year has been a tough one for so many, myself included.
I want to share with you my story with you of the past year, and how my creativity helped me in difficult times .
In the past year my family has lost two loved ones, In the summer we suddenly lost my Uncle, who was the most happy go lucky man, with a smile for everyone. His loss made a huge impact to our family.
Then sadly at the end of the year we very suddenly lost my Mother-in-Law. This was such a deep blow, especially as she lived in the Netherlands, so with the travel bans we couldn't make it in time to be with her at the end. We finally made it over to The Netherlands a week later to make the arrangements and say our final farewell.
On our return to the UK I felt not only a deep sense of loss but also I had no energy or motivation at all, to do anything, even the thought of getting out in my little workshop was way too much like hard work. I was beginning to get a little concerned that my mojo had left me for good. I have always been a creative person and all my creative energy seemed to have been zapped. I listened to my body and took a few weeks to rest and recuperate.
In that time I had also a one to one session booked in with my Silver Clay hero, Julia Rai, as was part of my AMCAW prize for winning the People's Choice Awards. Talking with Julia about lots of exciting technical applications with metal clay reignited a little spark in me. The same time I received an email with an interesting metal clay course in making a Rose pendant from Craftcast so I thought why not book on. I had been wanting to learn how to make roses from metal clay for a while, so felt the universe was giving me a little poke in the right direction. (Craftcast is a brilliant resource for lots of creative online learning, and absolutely worth checking out.)
I was soon back in my workshop creating following my new found techniques. Something happened, the dark cloud that I couldn't seem to shake started to lift, the more time I spent creating the better and more at ease I felt. It's something that is hard to explain, but holding that grey dull lump of clay in my hands and creating a thing of beauty from it is incredibly satisfying and therapeutic for me.
It got me thinking as to why it has such a profound effect on my sense of well-being.
I began to talk with other creatives, and they all concurred that they found the creative process incredibly soothing for the soul. Be it painting, sculpting, writing, drawing, baking or sewing. It doesn't matter what technique used or how good you think the end result is, the process of making something with your own hands is a very powerful one.
Research has shown that creativity can reduce stress, boost your mood, release those happy hormones and increase a sense of wellbeing.
In a recent blog post by the Craft Council stated that "Research published by University College London’s MARCH mental health network – formed in 2018, with members including the Crafts Council and the Museums Association – shows that engaging with the visual arts can reduce reported anxiety, and that visiting museums can protect against dementia’s development. ‘Cultural activities encourage gentle movement, reduce social isolation, and lower inflammation and stress hormones such as cortisol,’ said the report’s author, Dr Daisy Fancourt. ‘The arts are linked with dopamine release, which encourages cognitive flexibility, and they reduce our risk of dementia.’"
Next time you you are searching Pintrest for your next crafty project, or on a trolly dash to Hobby craft when it finally opens next month again, remind yourself, you are not only making something beautiful, your creativity also frees your mind and nourishes your soul.
So lovelies, go forth and create. I would love to see your creations, so please feel free to share with me on my social pages.
I will leave you with this brilliant quote that I found on Pintrest!
"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." -- Kurt Vonnegut