March Is National Craft Month

The Oxford Dictionary defines “craft” as “an activity involving skill in making things by hand.” In this day and age when everything is machine made, why should we make anything by hand?

The Creativity Cure book coverCarrie Barron, MD and Alton Barron, MD, authors of “The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness” have found that working with our hands and engaging in creative activities can improve our mood, give us a brain boost and help us focus on the present, instead of dwelling on problems in the past. “Making is crucial for happiness, health and mind expansion,” they explain.

Joining a group that crafts together or attending craft programs and workshops can offer a sense of community. The Callaway Stitchers have been meeting at the Callaway County Public Library on a regular basis since 2008 to socialize while they work individually on knitting, crocheting or other fiber arts projects. The Callaway library offers a Quilting Learning Circle once every three or four months. (Watch for the next date in our summer program guide.) The Columbia Public Library will be hosting several craft-related programs: “Technology & Quilting: Presentation & Trunk Show,” and “Quilt Exhibit Tour” on April 1 and “The Art and History of Needlepoint Tapestry” on May 6.

So make something — you could learn a new skill or continue to practice your favorite craft. Either way, you’ll improve your mental health. The library has plenty of books to inspire and help you:

  • The Handmade Life” by Ramona Barry is a great place to start if you have no idea of what you might enjoy doing. It provides information on a wide variety of crafts, listing tools needed, how to get started and photos of contemporary artistic works in each medium.
  • Crochet Therapy: The Soothing Art of Savoring Each Stitch” by Betsan Corkhill includes mindfulness exercises with the crochet projects that complement the therapeutic effects of crocheting.
  • Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects” by Sarah Goldschadt also has a variety of crafts, so you could try many different techniques to see what you enjoy.
  • Modern Needlepoint: 20 to Make” by Jayne Schofield gives modern designs for a craft that has been around for centuries.
  • Recyclo-gami” by Laurie Goldrich Wolf has some wonderful suggestions of ways to reuse and recycle.
  • Make & Share Random Acts of Kindness” by Mique Provost has ideas of ways to contribute to the happiness of others.

Craft-a-Day book coverThe library also has books on knitting, quilting, jewelry making, cooking, cake (and cupcake) decorating, photography, origami, scrapbooking, card-making and other crafts. No matter your skill level, have some fun making something this month. It doesn’t matter how the finished product looks — just enjoy the process. You might find a new hobby that makes you happier and healthier. And if you want to admire someone else’s work, I recommend you view the Quilt Exhibit March 27- April 15 at the Columbia Public Library.