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At Wild for Life we love a bit of Wild Crafting! We always seize the opportunity to use natural resources to decorate our homes, make thoughtful gifts, learn new skills or make things smell nice.
Perhaps we want to save on the expense of forking out for mass produced impersonal items, when we have access to all of the free stuff around us that is so much more unique?
But mostly, I think it’s because we really ENJOY making and crafting and then sharing our experiences with each other and you!
None of us have been trained to arrange flowers or to cook professionally, but we are all interested in trying new things and exploring the potential of nature’s garden or pantry. Some of the things we try go horribly wrong (like our elderflower champagne, or my rosehip syrup - twice in succession) but we keep on trying, tasting and perfecting, because we LOVE it!
When I consider why I am motivated to make natural oils or scented sugars, it’s not because I NEED them in my life, but more because the whole process of making them is itself really therapeutic. I do it because it helps me to relax and its fun.
Crafting and the arts actually has been proven in clinical studies to improve mental health, to reduce depression and aid wellbeing. In a survey carried out by the General Archives of Psychiatry a study of 3500 knitters demonstrated that 81 % of those who had depression all felt happier as a result of knitting!
Crafting helps us to be mindful, it absorbs our attention in a way that means we switch off from the pressures of life and instead do something creative. It uses different areas of our brain that can help our memory, our attention span and our ability to problem solve. And all of these benefits are irrespective of what your finished item looks like!
There’s also the added bonus of the confidence and self esteem that comes with creating something that we have never made before - in discovering that we can make an apple cake that doesn’t poison our whole family and actually is pretty tasty.
If we add in the foraging for resources that comes with crafting from nature, we have yet another added dimension – the connection with the wider world. The thought that we can grow a plant from a seed and then when that plant develops, that we can make essential oils from the flowers that can help us to sleep at night, or relive the tension in our tired muscles.
When we craft with our children it teaches them to explore the potential of resources around them. It aids their fine motor skills and reinforces the message that not everything has to be perfect for it to be enjoyable. We are modelling really positive behaviours to them and as a result they will develop their own creativity and imagination from what they observe us doing.
So next time you are on a walk or planting or collecting or just watching the natural world around you, why not explore the possibilities and take that to the next level and craft or create?
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