Hooters Hall

Mindful Making Diary:Why do you make?

Why do you make? Whatever your chosen craft what motivates you to do it?

In 2019 we were renovating our home and living in a tiny cabin for 8 months which meant all my crafting tools were packed away. After 4 months I felt I had to unpack one spinning wheel because I just needed to be making something — but why?

It was easy to identify what I didn’t miss during those months of not making. Which in itself showed me that all was not as it should be. I settled on 3 things.

  • Making for profit — selling in our online shop,
  • Making for social media — feeling a pressure to share / perform my making.
  • Making for the expectations of others — specific requests or my own decisions to make a gift.

It took a bit more reflection to pin down what I did miss.

  • Creativity
  • Being totally absorbed in a task — achieving flow.
  • Using my hands
  • Using my tools 
  • Touching, feeling fibre.

Both of those lists helped me articulate the dissatisfaction I had been feeling in the months leading up to my enforced abstinence from making. 
A niggling feeling of negativity that had started to attach itself to my making.
Instead of experiencing all the positive motivations I have for making I was often thinking more about whether what I was making would sell in the shop, how I could photograph it / tag it for social media, whether the person I was making for would like it and would it meet their expectations.

I decided I wanted to change that and putting on my psychiatrist hat I recognised that mindfulness offered a solution.

Mindfulness has proven benefits for wellbeing and mental health and I could write about the evidence base and specific therapeutic benefits but you can find all that information online and I want to do something more individual and personal.

I’ve started a mindfulness course for professionals which is based on experiential learning so I now do a daily formal mindfulness meditation as well as practising informal mindfulness throughout the day. I’m also doing a lot of reading about mindfulness, creativity and making.

I’ll be keeping a diary about what I learn and sharing it on the Hooters Hall blog and social media, so if you want to you can join me in exploring mindfulness in your making. I suggest spending some time thinking about these three questions. Write down your answers so you can come back to them and reflect.

  1. Why do you make?
  2. What do you like about your making?
  3. What do you dislike about your making ?

Resources and Reading

If you want to study mindfulness formally there are lots of online and face to face mindfulness courses. I’m doing my mindfulness course with the British Mindfulness Academy. They have an online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course as well as courses for professionals. www.britishmindfulnessacademy.co.uk
The books that I’ve been reading focused on mindfulness and craft are:

  • Mindful Crafting: The Maker’s Creative Journey (Mindfulness) by Sarah Samuel
  • Craftfulness by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin

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