‘Fiddling with threads’: Craft-­‐based textile activities and positive well-­‐being

Bloomsbury Journals
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Textiles: Journal of Cloth and Culture, 2015, 13 (1), pp. 50 - 65
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Craft-based textile activities such as knitting, crochet, tatting and lace making have provided challenges, physical and mental stimulation, creative outlets, and social interaction for generations. The role of craft and the relationship between craft and maker vary across cultures, geographic groups and gender. However, a common thread is that craft practitioners are often emotionally invested in these activities and many continue to make through all stages of life and into old age. Given the global ageing of the population, activities that can be carried out by people with reduced mobility and increasing physical or mental limitations as a result of ageing, and which can promote healthy ageing and positive well-being are now becoming increasingly important. Existing research has established a link between creativity and health and well-being. But, it is only recently that multidisciplinary research involving arts and crafts, social science, and medical and health scholars and practitioners, has begun to show the importance of activities, such as craft-textiles, for positive well-being. The relationship between craft activities, creative engagement, mental and physical stimulation, social interaction, self-esteem, and therefore, positive well-being has been insufficiently explored. This article reports findings of a study of lace makers at the Lace Study Centre at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia that examined how craft activities contribute to well-being in a variety of ways. This research, which focused on female practitioners, found that craft-based textile activities and associated social practices provide insights into the individual and societal importance of ‘everyday creativity’ for promoting positive well-being and general good health.
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