If you think very hard, can you recall the first time you created something colorful and unique with your own hands? If you can, there’s a good chance the memory might be a bit fuzzy because it was probably at an age when you had yet to master the skill of walking. We’re introduced to crafts at an early age, using items such as blocks and stacking rings in bright colors, and delighting our families with our amazing sense of design and dexterity.
During elementary school, craft activities were a time to learn and gain social skills with classmates as we all made the same item to proudly bring home. These include items such as the shell macaroni necklace sprayed with gold paint, for Mom’s birthday present, and the pixie houses made out of driftwood and decorated with moss, leaves and other natural decorations, for the school’s holiday bazaar.
Today, crafts hold a special place in our lives, as they allow us to express ourselves in thoughtful and creative ways, improving our health and well-being and fostering new friendships or deepening the friendships we have with those who share this passion with us.
The benefits of arts and crafts are many. The can serve as a stress release, boost confidence, increase empathy, improve quality of life for those with illnesses, enhance brain productivity, and lessen the effect of serious health conditions.
Many women enjoy belonging to a craft group, a place where they can learn from each other, validate feelings and foster support for one another, as well as other women outside of the group. For many, the craft itself may be secondary to just being with their friends. It’s a time for companionship, laughter, conversations about family and perhaps the things that can’t be said to them. The formation of friendships around the love of a craft can produce a much needed sense of belonging at times when there may be a feeling of isolation—such as during a pandemic.
It may be a while longer before craft groups can once again have the experience of being in the same space with one another. Not surprisingly, many of them have successfully used virtual gatherings to maintain the connections and further grow the friendships that have flourished over the years. Even virtually, belonging and contributing to a craft group can be a source of support, where friendship, learning and empowerment result from being part something larger than themselves.
We hope that you will be celebrating crafting and friendships with us, all throughout March—National Crafting Month!