Have you heard the phrase ‘go with the flow’? Don’t stress, take things as they come? For quilters (and crafters in general) there may be more to this sentiment than first meets the eye.
Quilting is our creative outlet. We express ourselves using needle and thread, often seeking out new and challenging techniques. Our focus on repetitive actions and skill improvement allows us to enter what is referred to as ‘flow’, when we are perfectly immersed between skill and challenge
This state of flow is not unique to quilters, it is shared by crafters everywhere. The benefits of crafting are well documented and varied and include relaxation, relief from stress, a sense of accomplishment, and connection to tradition. It also increases happiness, reduces anxiety, and enhances confidence. Improved memory, concentration, and the ability to think through problems are additional benefits.
And, while quilting may appear to be a relatively private activity, the benefits from the social connections that it fosters via our sewing circles and guilds are substantial. In addition, for more than a century, arts and craft-based activities have been a core part of occupational therapy, helping take our minds off pain and negative thoughts, as well as skills-development geared towards re-entering the workforce.
Quilting also enhances our feelings of well-being as we age. We find the work challenging and cognitively demanding and it helps us maintain or generate new skills. And working with colour is uplifting, especially in winter, which may provide a particular benefit for us Canadians.
Little wonder then that we look to our quilting to help us navigate the sometimes stressful labyrinth of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, Susan Luckman from the University of South Australia published an interesting article about mindfulness, exploring the mental and physical benefits of crafting. How Craft is Good for Our Health seems particularly relevant to revisit today as we seek to understand the pull of our sewing rooms for comfort. Read about the men’s rehabilitation program in WWI and the transformative embroidery that was essential to mending their shattered lives; it is an eye-opener.
And go with the flow.