Originally posted February 24, 2016.
I’ve been blessed with wonderful, caring friends who’ve helped me a lot over this past winter! I wanted to do something special for them, something that would hold the intention of love, friendship and thankfulness within! I decided to get busy with some needlework! I’ve been making textile dolls for 20 years and decided it was time to take a rest from art quilting and get back to that beloved textile craft!
Needlecrafting helps me relax and get in what positive psychologists call “the flow.” Dr. Mihaly Chentmihalyi studied people in the state of being totally absorbed in an enjoyable activity and coined the term “the flow.” Flow is what athletes, hobbyists, people working, artistic experience when they are totally absorbed in a task and become unaware of time and place. In his research, Dr. Chentmihalyi found that achieving the flow state is needed for good emotional and mental health. Here he is giving a TED talk on the flow state.
The flow state can be compared to today’s “mindfulness” movement. Mindfulness is being fully present and absorbed in the moment.
Those of us who needle craft know that needle work can create a feeling of flow and mindfulness, which have excellent health benefits! Herbert Benson, quoted in an article in the New York Times, says that “…the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like associated with meditation or yoga…” and can “…lower heart rate and blood pressure…” In a survey cited in the same article, thousands of needle artists cite “…stress relief and creative fulfillment…” as the main benefit.
I thought about making Friendship – Spirit Dolls totally from scratch. What better way to chase away the winter doldrums and usher in Spring with colorful fabrics and yarn from my stash! (We had a tease last week, with the warm weather and sunshine and all, but now it’s back to slushy, freezing rain!)
But then I found Arzie Hodge, that fabulous dollmaker on Etsy, and her beautiful, unfinished doll forms for sale at a great price! Some of the colors called out to me and I thought I’d try her doll forms for my Friendship Dolls! Artie’s doll forms come complete with polymer clay faces from Linsart, the fabulous clay artist, on Etsy.
It was great fun ordering the doll forms and getting them in the mail from Arzie, all wrapped up in nice girly tissue paper!
When I received the forms, I considered them for a while, and let the colors and shapes call out their identities to me.
I “mindfully” looked through my stash of yarn, silk cord and beads. This is a totally absorbing experience for me, looking through the colors and textures is so effortless and fun that I block out all other thoughts and worries. Each doll asks for different colors and bead work. Their identities emerged slowly over a few weeks.
I sure hope they like them! I had a wonderful time mindfully relaxing and being absorbed in creative expression!
Express yourself creatively !!