Tap Into Your Inner Artist
Tap Into Your Inner-Artist
By Phyllis Mciantosh
Knitting has made a comeback! And almost everyone is getting into scrapbooking! From the look of the crowds in local arts and craft stores, it appears that more grown-ups are reclaiming a simple part of their childhood and are finding that it's cool to have fun with crafts.
Learning a new hobby or craft, and in the process discovering your artistic talent, can be a perfect way to release the stresses of a long day and can be a source of great personal satisfaction, especially for someone with a chronic illness.
Karen Evans of Baltimore turned to crocheting while homebound for nearly a year undergoing treatment for a lupus-related kidney disease.
"I was depressed and tired of watching television," she says. "I felt I needed to do something productive." Evans now works part-time as head of a charity foundation, but still crochets avidly.
Needlework of all kinds is especially popular among people with lupus, says Cindy Coney, owner of a professional training and consulting company in Tampa, FL. Coney loves needlepoint and explains, "It's repetitive, almost meditative, and I get to complete something even when I can't do some of the other things in my life."
Other artistic endeavors, such as making jewelry, ceramics, painting, woodworking, assembling model cars, or building dollhouse furniture can be just as rewarding. What's more, the finished products can result in money saved during holiday gift giving. Evans even sells whatever crochet creations she doesn't give away to family and friends. And if you enjoy baking, no one will pass up homemade bread, cookies, or a cake wrapped in a decorative tin. You can even break the task into manageable chunks by asking a family member or friend to help you make the dough, then store it in the freezer until you feel up to baking.
Learning a new craft is easy. You can find classes in every imaginable field at your local community college, community center, or craft or art supply store. Instruction is also available free on dozens of websites that guide you step-by-step-sometimes with video-through projects ranging from needlework to simple gifts made from materials you may have around the house (see box).
Lastly, if you decide to pursue a new hobby, don't overlook friends as a source of help, advises Coney. "Many times when you're not feeling well, people want to help. Just say, 'I'd like to make some gifts to give during the holidays. Would you teach me how to crochet?' Teaching you something makes them feel useful."
If you can't attend a crafts class in your neighborhood, finding ideas and instructions is just a click away on these websites:
www.craftown.com-Offers how-to instructions on crafts, such as rug braiding, beading, stenciling, painting, and candle making. There are also links to craft resources, project ideas, and free patterns.
www.learntoknit.com-Gives tips on knitting and crocheting. Shows where to find classes and yarn.
www.familyfun.go.com-Family Fun is a magazine site full of craft ideas for kids of all ages.
www.michaels.com-Arts and crafts store website with links to project ideas, classes, and materials you can purchase online.