From embroidery to knitting, painting to sculpture. Truth, beauty and power can be found whilst working with your hands.
For me the process of creating art often begins with play and experimentation. Unhooking my thinking brain and allowing my hands and intuition to guide me. Much like those fabulous sporty people who might go for a run to shake off the troubles of the day, often carving out a small chunk of time to create allows me to reset and refresh.
Often when talking about mindfulness you hear reference to ‘being in the body’, that physicality can disrupt negative self-talk and allow for better perspective. The click of knitting needles and the repetition of yarn pulling over fingers is a meditation. One tiny stitch leads to another and before long you have a finished embroidery. Loose marks beginning on paper lead to washes of paint conveying movement and energy. The process of making can provide that energetic shift which allows the mind to wander and rest.
However, this is not the case for all artists or even all artworks. The struggling artist cliché is one that has been bandied around for millennia and perhaps that simply comes from the fact that we creative types tend to be inward thinkers. I know for myself in times of difficulty I retreat both physically and emotionally. And likewise making an artwork that is conceptually weighty or technically very difficult can bring up resistance and fatigue. At times like these I find that coming back to making even in its most simple and playful forms helps me to deal with difficulties in an expressive way again releasing and resetting in order to move forward.
The shift that can be created with the simplest modes of making and by embracing the inner child without judgement or end goal in mind can be so liberating. So, I encourage you to get messy, get moving, get loose, experiment and play.