Modern life is pretty busy but with many of us living and working in front of one type of screen or another (several, usually) it’s easy to feel that we don’t have much to show for all that busy-ness. This may be one reason that the world of arts and crafts has, in recent years, become an increasingly popular one. So what’s in it for you and where do you start?
Hidden Health Benefits in Craft Hobbies?
Nearly every week it turns out that something we do all the time is bad for us. From sitting at work all day to eating the ‘wrong’ foods, the list seems endless. However, arts and crafts hobbies have, as yet, to feature on this list. In fact, it’s fairly likely that there are some real benefits to switching of the TV/Smart-phone/Laptop and getting creative. Most veteran craft workers – and plenty of newbies – report that they experience a strong sense of calm, focus and relaxation whilst creating their masterpieces. Craft work requires focus, attention to the task in hand and it can help you to forget day-to-day worries and cares as you concentrate your mind on the here, the now and the not stabbing yourself with a needle or sticking yourself to the floor with super-glue. Flippancy aside, a meditative state seems to be the real experience of most who practice some form of creative hobby and meditation has also yet to make the headlines as being really bad for you!
Multi-tasks and New Skills
Broadening your skills, alongside that meditative Zen-like state, is another of the benefits that come with learning new craft or art-based hobbies. This has psychological benefits for many of us, as well as simply being a good practical result of craft practice. Developing new skills not only fosters a sense of achievement and self-empowerment, it gives your brain a good work out, helping to create new pathways. This may be increasingly important in an age where computers are doing so much for us. Some would argue that we we are loosing basic skills as we leave our fridges to ordering our groceries (when they’re not busy hacking into major defence systems). Craft and art practitioners are constantly using their brains, their hands and their eyes. Learning, maintaining and improving real practical skills is beneficial in every day life – and the more active our brains becomes increasingly important as we get older.
Most hobbies in the arts and crafts world have a distinct group of fans; groups, in fact, often form around them and there may well be a knitting circle, a pottery group or an art class in your area. These groups generally welcome people of all skill levels and they are a great place to watch, learn and help others, whilst enjoying your favourite craft and getting to know new, like-minded people. Yes, you can do that online but meeting your new friends for real can be surprisingly rewarding and is a great part of the hands-on side of craft and art work.
Money Making Made Easy
As your talents improve there are also a couple of interesting side benefits to the world of arts and crafts. Both involve money, which may sound mercenary but with living costs high and jobs not always easy to find or keep these days, every little helps. The two most obvious ways in which you can benefit financially from your hobby are by making your own gifts (year-round) or selling your work online. Home-made gifts can really help to cut the costs as the endless cycle of birthdays, anniversaries, christenings, Mothers’ days, Fathers’ days, Second-Cousin-Once-Removed days (it could happen) rolls on. And craft hobbies can save a fortune around the overdraft-inducing Christmas period. Producing your own gifts or greetings cards is a fantastic way to reduce the cost of these events. In general, most people will also much prefer a lovingly hand crafted option to a commercially produced gift. Arts, crafts and home-made gifts have a long history and they are, today, considered pretty cool!
As your skills develop the second way in which you can benefit financially from your craft or art work is to sell it online. These days it’s extremely easy to do so; a range of sites including Etsy or Society6 provide a simple way in which to market and sale your artwork or craft items – whether you enjoy print making or jewellery making. The hand-made, craft and art world is extremely popular today as people search for the unusual, the unique and the artisan over the mass-produced. The internet has, of course, made it much easier for just about anyone to access this growing market of enthusiastic shoppers. Check out the different sites and see which suits your products best. You can start of small, if you just want to make some extra cash – but many people now find that they can make a good, full-time living from selling their craft-work online.
Arts, crafts and all creative pursuits have a surprising number of benefits and can help to improve your sense of achievement, your mental health and your social life. The possibility of making additional income either full or part-time is also another good reason to start searching for craft supplies online today!