I loved reading an article from The Guardian back in January called ‘Finding time for creativity will give you respite from worries‘. It expressed so much of why Made Unique exists – the potential of creativity to grow confidence, fight isolation, allow self-expression, create space away from stress, boost health, calm worries, and bring a sense of achievement and peace… not to mention a whole lot of enjoyment.
“Art is widely recognised as a helpful way to boost wellbeing in so many different ways: to aid communication, to alleviate depression, to uncover hidden meanings and conflicts, but it doesn’t have to be a big cathartic expression of inner turmoil to have healing benefits. Even a small amount of creativity is good for us.”
I was particularly struck by some research that said that ‘getting to grips with something new and creative is good for our mental health regardless of skill level’ and reflected back on how much I’d enjoyed an online workshop in December when I made mini origami Christmas trees. The process of learning something new felt so healthy and fun.
A great start is to follow an online tutorial that uses items you have around the house. You can start like me with a little origami ‘minimake’ from OrigamiEst – the older projects are on Esther’s Instagram but recently she’s switched to YouTube and you can fold along live each Sunday evening.
I’ve been so enjoying our little pot of irises this year and was delighted to find this little tutorial inspired by VanGogh’s paintings of irises – messy painting for grown ups with a gorgeous result! There are lots of other brilliant tutorials on the isolationartschool instagram – quirky kids projects, drawing and painting tips, inventive ways to replicate studio processes at home (CANNOT WAIT to try the car printing press) and videos of artists at work that are fascinating in themselves but also include some wonderful ideas like Tim Noble’s shadow sculptures from recycling.
If you have a bit longer then I’d recommend taking the time to create an artwork alongside an artist. You might remember me enjoying the Royal Albert Hall draw-along with Charlie Mackesy back in July and more recently I found it really calming but fascinating to do this mindful cut-out workshop with Sharon Walters, hosted by the Tate (my first cut-out collage is the image above). Whilst creating her own piece and guiding us to create ours, the artist discusses the importance of representation and how we see ourselves, weaving in reflections on the work of the brilliant artist Lubaina Himid.
To really get stuck into a new craft it’s a great idea to join a workshop where materials are sent to you by post and you join in with others to learn and enjoy together. Options include this brush lettering workshop, this range of workshops using fabric and recycled materials, or Est’s amazing range of origami workshops including clocks, flowers wall art and more.
Workshops can also be a really lovely gift (and don’t include the challenge of getting something in the post in time!), or could be a way to celebrate an occasion – Est offers hen parties and the wonderful Jenny Baker from Grizzlibear offers all sorts of possibilities from birthday parties, to standalone kits, to zoom workshops you can join in with. One I’d love to do when our kids are a bit older gives you the opportunity to create a fabric wrap decorated with special memories that can then be used instead of disposable wrapping paper for all your special gift-giving occasions!