Creativity is my Therapy

One of my most popular letterpress prints on my own handmade paper

Apparently I started to write this blog post in February last year. I had the title and a single sentence (which I have just deleted), and then I apparently got distracted.

But oddly enough, it is very relevant in this moment, and was relevant throughout the whole of 2020. Crafting and creating is what kept me sane. And continues to keep me sane. Making things is my favourite thing to do when things get to be too much. And right now, I cannot help keep getting more and more materials to make more and more things. Very much like my main character, Caru, in The Girl Who Loved Too Much, I have a LOT of hobbies. 

I letterpress print things on my Adana presses. I knit things. Crochet things. I love making Luna and friends, by Sarah Peel, with their tailored clothing. I enjoy making things out of leather, and stamping metal with words. I love taking photos, making little videos. And then of course I love to write, though you could argue that wasn’t a hobby, but my work. 

Luna Lapin and friends!

Why is creating so therapeutic? I know that not everyone has hobbies to the level I do, but over the last year, I have seen quite a few friends who have declared themselves uncreative in the crafting sense, take up a craft and find themselves enjoying it a lot. And not just enjoying it, but being damned good at it too! 

I genuinely think that a large part of the difference between those who create things and those who don’t, comes down to whether they were encouraged to make things in their childhood. When I was little, we were ALWAYS making things. Always. And I watched my parents constantly make things. It was normal. But when I ran a little crafting group 15 years ago, I found that none of the children were allowed to craft at home. Because it created mess. Because it meant having to find somewhere to put the things they created. Because it didn’t fit into the neat and tidy lifestyle the parents had created. 

Special Edition of The Girl Who Loved Too Much

This is something I tried to address in my latest novel. Is it possible to be creative, while also being wealthy and neat and tidy? So far in my own experience, these things are mutually exclusive. To be creative is to create mess. There are things drying, things in half finished states, things at various stages. Then there are things waiting to be sold, or given as gifts. And money? Well that gets spent on materials, on packaging, on courses to learn more about your craft and on yet more materials. 

But when I consider the question whether I would prefer to be creative or be wealthy, or creative or neat and tidy, creative wins every time. Even though it drives me crazy that I can’t find things. Even though I keep moving house and having so much crafting equipment and materials to move is a nightmare.

Because to create things is part of who I am. These things are extensions of myself. They are manifestations of my thoughts, my excitement, my enthusiasm. And they are my way of coping with things. Of moving through these ultra-weird times we find ourselves in.

So tell me, do you create? What do you create? Why do you create (or not)? If you have Instagram accounts, or somewhere I can see your creations, post them in the comments!

6 comments on “Creativity is my Therapy

  1. Lol Michelle
    You are talking my language. I’m on my late 50s and still crafting.
    I work in Debenhams in Southend essex ( for 30 years on and off ) and you know what has happened to them.
    We are in liquidation! I am at that age of almost been too ok to get a new job and too young for retirement!
    So to save my sanity and drown my worries, I craft , I write , I make spiritual based jewellery with crystals and recently started needle felting and making teddy bears.
    I am that ‘girl’ in your latest book 😂
    I always mean to ‘ sell’my craft but never seem to get around to that! 😂
    Maybe one day I will.
    But crafting brings me joy and peace and now that I will not have a job soon. I’m trying to find a way to help others escape into crafting. I’m trying to find out how to get into teaching art therapy . So maybe the universe is guiding me in that direction.
    Love all your work. my motto is “keep crafting and carry on “ lol. Helen

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    • Sounds like we are the same souls! Crafting does indeed save one’s sanity, that is for certain! I would love to make more teddy bears again, but the felt woodland creatures have taken over for now! It’s difficult to sell crafts. So much work and love goes into them, and also the materials etc, and most people don’t want to pay what they’re worth because they can get it cheaper from China. I hope you find a way forward, I usually end up giving things as gifts, rather than try to put a price on them, but then it’s nice to have the money, even if it’s only to buy more materials with! I hope the art therapy direction pans out, I plan to introduce more people to letterpress printing this year, once I have a space to set up in!

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  2. GREat blog to answer your question – I used to be a reative person in many areas of my life. Then academia & work got in the way and I lost all confidence in myself as a creative person – especially just for the joy of doing it. Will I start up again at the moment probably not in a crafting way. HOwever, in my coaching and mentoring the creative and instinctive parts of me just flow through to support others. So not totally shut down.

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