#Craftastherapy

Crafternoon!

This is the cry of the crafter. It is sometimes said in a certain tone, as if to say, “Needs must…” Try it. “Crafternoon…” It helps if you shrug. It can also be said in an enthusastic tone, as if to say, “Yeah, baby! Let’s do this!” Try it. “Crafternoon!” It helps if you punch the air or play air guitar a-la Bill and Ted.

I recently taught this battle cry to my mother. I was with her in Massachusetts (USA) when we lost my brother, Jamie.

(A mother should never have to bury her own child. I could say more, but this is a craft blog, so I love you, bro, smell ya later, fly high.)

As it happened, I had a crochet design submission to finalise and a bridesmaid’s sash to make for myself, for a friend’s wedding, so I had to bring my work with me on this trip. My mother has always been a creative person, so I knew she would understand… but what I hoped was that she would join in.

Craft as Therapy? Really?

Yeah, absolutely! It’s not the same as traditional talking therapy, although in certain social crafting situations with the right people, it can be. The crafting in this case serves as something for the hands and eyes, so that you can just talk without seeing the faces of the people listening, it’s a bit like talking about serious stuff while driving a car. For some, it makes it easier to talk.

When you’re on your own, I think that the therapeutic effect of craft comes when your mind is occupied with a task that requires fine motor control and the creative side of the brain, and it frees up the logical side to just tick away in the background. Also, the act of creating I believe is a great self-esteem booster. Think of your inner child holding his or her new creation up and saying, “Look what I made!”

You can imagine my happiness when, weeks later, I was chatting with my Mom on Facebook Messenger. We had plans to watch the Patriots game (American Football, that’s our local team) at the same time, now in our different places, and as we settled in to watch the game, she sent:

“Crafternoon!”

Yaaaas! The message has been passed. It is now a thing. But the most meaningful part of this simple message is that the “Therapy” that is craft will be ongoing, even if I’m not there to remind her.

But what’s my Mom working on? In the top photo, you will see one of her many creations. It was an upcycling exercise with a poignant twist. That black notebook was decorated with some elastic cord, a carefully chosen Coconut shell button from JoAnn, and some in-ear earphone covers were repurposed to hide the knots at the ends of the elastic. The notebook? It belonged to my brother, and inside the back cover is written in Sharpie:

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that matter; it’s the life in your years.”

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