During times of uproar and anxiety it's important to remember how to keep yourself grounded.
Finding a way to rise above the chaos of life is essential; crafting does this for me. I've been crafting since I could hold a crayon. I think I took every art class imaginable, and thoroughly enjoyed the many mediums I explored. Over the years I found that doing 3-dimensional work like pottery, stained glass, jewelry making, sewing, and even baking put me in a meditative state.
Using my own two hands to create is my therapy.
When you focus on personal creative projects, your mind and body do incredible things. Crafting diverts your focus from all the stressful things in life and onto productivity, creation and goals.
Our brains release dopamine while decorating a cake, just like it does when we exercise.
When we do activities that make us feel good, there's a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing you made something beautiful. You also strengthen your confidence by expressing yourself, which then gives you a sense of pride and control.
There have been multiple studies about crafting and art improving brain activity, which in the long run helps prevent dementia and other cognitive diseases. Crafting is unique because it involves many different areas of the brain. It can work your memory and attention span, while involving your visuospatial and problem-solving skills.
My favorite craft hobby is making jewelry. I mainly use natural stones with sterling silver or brass in very simple geometric patterns. I've been designing pieces since my teen years, and actually had a business for a while during college. It helped me relax and removed me from the stress of my school projects. I'm hoping to get into welding soon!
Recently I got to join other NYC designers that have craft hobbies at a DESIGN + DISCOVER pop up shop hosted by West Elm Workspace, Inscape and DesignText. It has been a few years since I've had the opportunity to showcase my work, so believe me when I say that my dopamine was through the roof! Many designers within our industry use craft as an outlet. It was incredible to meet and connect with people just like me.
It's important to keep your immediate world as happy as it can be. During stressful times, I find myself digging around my bead drawers or cooking A LOT. Find something that makes you feel good and do it as often as you can.
The ability to persevere comes from within.
- Alexandra Seager (Zandy), Designer