When the pace and stresses of life get too much there’s nothing like taking some time out to make to clear your head and refocus your energy. The slow craft movement celebrates projects from sewing to woodwork. Traditional techniques you can get lost in for hours. We’ve rounded up five ‘slow crafts’ that will teach you patience and help you with mindfulness…
Sitting with a hoop and some thread can be the perfect way to focus your mind as you concentrate on nothing but the stitches.
“In a world where there’s pressure to get things done quickly people are enjoying the permission to take time out and do something slowly and carefully,” explains embroiderer Chloe Giordano who creates beautifully intricate, modern and naturalistic embroidery.
“I’ve always enjoyed work that’s detailed and laborious and I take a lot of joy in investing time and effort into a piece.”
Chloe says even though she makes her living from embroidery, her work leaves her calm despite the deadlines. “I never fail to find the physical act of stitching calming,” she says. “The repetitive nature of embroidery can be very relaxing, and the ability to work at one thing until you master it is very gratifying – it’s a different mindset to the one that a lot of people approach creating with, but once you learn to slow down and just enjoy the process you can really begin to feel the benefits of slow crafting.”
English Paper Piecing
Making a quilt is never a speedy process and English paper piecing takes the time consuming element even further. The tiny stitches, which hold together each hexagon, mean your mind can’t wander far from the job in hand.
“There’s a rhythm to a sewing project. Each time I return to it, I find myself instantly slowing down and focusing on the task in hand, whether that’s choosing fabrics, cutting papers or sewing pieces together. It’s meditative,” explains quilter Florence Knapp who blogs as Flossie Teacakes.
“There’s a real delight in going up to my sewing room and knowing that I have an hour or two to lose myself in something where the outcome doesn’t matter in the greater world, but for those few hours, it matters intensely within the confines of my own head. I think willingly engaging in something that’s so time-consuming teaches you that the joy is often more about the process than reaching the finish line.”
While it may seem hard to find time in the day to take time for yourself, a portable craft like knitting or crochet can give you a few minutes in the day to step back and take time for yourself, while working on a big project like a blanket.
“Slow crafts are a good antidote to a world that is moving at an astonishingly fast pace. Making something by hand sets an intention to step out of that rat race and move at a pace that savours the journey of making as much as the finished object,” says Slugs On The Refrigerator blogger Kat Goldin.
“It’s like the difference between a sprint and a marathon. Both serve their purpose, but there’s a certain additional achievement unlocked from making something that takes a long time. I love the portability that crochet offers too. I’m always making even when watching swimming lessons or waiting for the dentist. It creates a pocket of time where I feel productive and active, rather than zoning out on my phone.”
Spending time close to nature is a wonderful way to take a step back from city life. Working to turn a lump of wood into a beautifully crafted bowl or spoon takes time, from carving to sanding and sealing, but leaves you with an item you can keep forever. Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge of Forest + Found may live in the city, but working from their hand-built workshop in the back garden of their London home, couldn’t feel further away from the rat race.
“Traditional crafts and ways of working really struck a chord with us because of the time they take and the fact you end up with something that was made using things you can simply find in the forest,” says Max.
“I can spend hours on my wood lathe trying new methods. It doesn’t feel like work – it’s a way of life. Even when we take time off I find myself sat by the fire with friends making spoons.”
Cross stitch may be one of the simplest crafts to take up, but it is also one of the most time consuming. However, the act of placing little woolly kisses on your fabric can even help you work through any problems you may need to ponder.
“When you embark on a craft like cross stitch, you have to get your head into a different place. You won’t be rewarded with a finished piece straight away, you will have put time and love into the stitches,” says Emily Peacock who creates contemporary cross stitch kits.
“The meditative state that repetitive work can give you is really calming. I have sat working out countless problems while my hands have been kept busy, I now feel lost if I don’t have a piece of work on the go as it feels part of who I am.”
Image source: daniellawitte.elledecoration.se
3 Slow-living pinboards to swoon over
- This gorgeous pinboard by blogger Me and Orla will have you dreaming of a simpler life
- Rowan Tree blogger Rania brings Nordic style slow living inspiration from food to photography
- Jewellery and crochet designer Emma Mitchell brings together a range of traditional textile skills
3 hashtags to inspire a slow life
Be inspired by the people taking time to make by searching the hashtag #slowcraft to find inspirational makers. You can also share your makes or encounters with nature by using the hashtag #theartofslowliving
Take things back to basics and look for the small pleasures in life with the gorgeous hashtag #seekthesimplicity. You can also take a look at makers using traditional techniques with their environment in mind using the hashtag #sustainablecraft
Find crafts to inspire you take time out and meditate using the hashtag #craftastherapy to create with the thriving Instagram community of makers using craft to enrich and heal.