UKSPF UK Government Funding West Yorkshire Combined Authority Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire

The Importance of Creativity on Wellbeing

We asked our Arts & Crafts Tutor about the importance of creativity on wellbeing and mental health, an area which is important to us at Crafting4Good and the reason we became a Social Enterprise.

painting and colour demonstrate the importance of creativity on wellbeingExpressing Yourself Through Colour and Creativity can Improve Wellbeing

We would get such lovely feedback from people as to how they use our printables as a 'quick timeout'...

  • Getting lost in the 'flow' to help with depression
  • Taking a break from their roles as a Carer
  • Achieving a sense of purpose from making things that they can then sell to raise money for their favourite causes
  • Providing cards to those in need, helping them feel like they're 'doing something' positive
  • Making new friends online through our sites
  • How they are housebound and love the fact you can instantly print activities and start making them etc.

We'd get a lot of feedback like this so started Crafting4Good with the idea of helping others even more, which is where Mandy comes in because she's a qualified Arts & Crafts tutor with heaps of experience running community craft classes alongside mental health support, following art therapy principles etc.

See if you agree with the thoughts of an Arts & Crafts tutor about the importance of creativity on wellbeing...

Mandy's Story

I am an Arts and Crafts Tutor, and I teach adults a variety of arts and crafts for WEA,  Scrapbooking for Family History, Your Fair Ladies and one-off workshops and tutorial videos.

Over the years I have also being involved in establishing and supporting community craft groups and currently run a weekly art group for those in the care of a Community Mental Health Team.

How I Started Crafting

I started up a community card making group about 14 years ago after talking to some of the older ladies in my church - we had a great time.  I had never done anything like it before but I thought, hey why not give it a try. 

Not long after, my personal circumstances changed but we continued with the group and it really helped me. 

My family also began to meet at my house weekly to make cards to sell for our charity, which again supported me and gave me some purpose.  

Over time the group evolved into a community crafting group that still continues and my tuition of several WEA papercraft courses.

My Proudest Moment & Best Make

I am always proud when students create something they are proud of or want to give away as a gift, or if they really enjoy learning something new and go on to continue creating at home and sharing their learning with others.

On a personal note, I recently created a piece of art for the first time in many years, and I even put on my lounge wall.  I really enjoyed the process and now it is a reminder for me to continue to make the time to create for myself (I haven't achieved this yet, but I will).

My Favourite Crafts

I have always loved stamping and using different stamping techniques.  Heat Embossing is a favourite and I enjoy 'having a play' and experimenting, making background designs to use in different projects.

Top 5 tips for Crafting & Creativity

1. Try something new e.g. puttingcolours together you wouldn’t normally, have a play and see if it works or if you like it.

2. Find out what you prefer to use for adhesive; some prefer glue, some double sided tape, but try others.

3. Invest in good scissors, a small nail pair and large ones

4. Make time to be creative - it is good for the soul

5. Share your creativity with others, e.g share your craft ideas or interests 

Using Printables

At first I wasn't a fan of printables because I didn't really understand how you use them, but after I saw them in use I realised the benefits.

Now, I love how printables are affordable and how you can use a design as many times as you want, using your imagination to try different things and make your own creation from what comes out of your printer e.g. in a class, we used printable birdhouse templates to create cute little church buildings which we filled with LED tealights. 

Birdhouse Printables Re-Imagined Into a Church with LED Tealights

Little churches made from birdhouse template printables
Little churches made from birdhouse template printables - side view
Little churches made from birdhouse template printables - back view

Regarding The Printable Craft Shop and Crafting4Good, I like that it's not just about  selling: it's about community spirit, sharing ideas, re-cycling and wellbeing.

The Importance of Creativity

I know from experience that crafting and being creative can be amazing for promoting good health and wellbeing:

  • Helps with self esteem
  • Builds confidence
  • Provides a distraction
  • Can ease isolation
  • A platform for making friends, sharing ideas and helping others (which makes you feel good in return)

Crafting is good for the soul -  it can really help others in many ways, and sometimes it really is just about not worrying too much but just 'having a play, exploring and learning'.

This is what I have experienced over the years and why I got into teaching and what I continue to see evidence of constantly.  It is why I do what I do.

My Essential Craft Toolkit

When teaching I always carry what I think of as 'My Basic Kit' and shows you don't need lots of fancy supplies, just a few basics can get your creative juices flowing - especially if you team them up with ready-to-make printables!

  This includes the usual essentials such as:

  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Guillotine, scissors etc...

But I do always recommend including:

  • A quickie glue pen
  • Glossy accents
  • A  pack of small sized glue dots

I'm a fan of them all, and you always need a glue dot at some time!

When we made the little churches, we used basic supplies and printed off our template and papers to cover the roof etc.

birdhouse templatesBirdhouse Template + Printable Craft Papers = Little Churches (above)

Final Thoughts

It would be great if creative sessions were more available and accessible for all, and that getting funding wasn't all about the number of students.

I would love to see more funding for arts and crafts generally, but in particular focusing on mental health because of the importance of creativity on our wellbeing.

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